Pierre's Consultation Method Explained
Pierre Fontaine "The Autism Whisperer"
The Initial Consultation
My refined method for gathering information during the initial consultation of an ASD child/patient (that will ultimately help me select the best indicated homeopathic remedy) took me a decade to perfect. It’s success rests upon a concept I characterize as going into, through, and beyond the child – which I now call the “surrogacy” methodology.
From the very beginning my challenge was two-fold.
The first challenge to overcome was: How can we give a voice to a child who most of the time does not speak? The standard homeopathic consultation relies entirely upon verbal information exchanged back & forth with the patient. But when we can get these Autistic children to speak, it’s usually in short or meaningless sentences that don’t provide us with enough of the quality information we require.
The second challenge to overcome was: How can I break through so many physical, emotional and mental problems? The goal here is to go far deeper (than what is nominally discernible in ASD patients) and arrive at an understanding – the gestalt – of the entire state, indeed the very root of the suffering of the child.
ASD children have extremely varied sets of challenges. When I first began to take these cases early in my career, I tried using the standard homeopathy method to get the totality of physical symptoms to help me select the best indicated remedy. But this standard method was not practical or effective.
For instance – here is an example of a standard homeopathy “repertorization”: Let’s take a symptom of constipation. A lot of these children have constipation that produces little black pellets like ‘sheep dung’. A simple search in the homeopathic repertory brings up the rubric “stool, sheep dung like”.
There are forty-one remedies listed. We also have a rubric called “stool, balls” where 47 remedies are listed as well as some sub-rubrics for “black”, “brown” or ‘green” balls. But finding the best indicated remedy merely through our use of such physical symptoms like this will not work. The reason is very simple. Hard, knotty constipation is only a symptom. It does not represent the inner core of the child. It does not give voice to the inner state of the child.
We can perhaps affect the “hard knotty stool” with a remedy listed in that rubric, but this isn’t going to address or ameliorate the child’s core ASD ailment. The same ‘solution’ can be used for other common symptoms such as diarrhea, skin issues, hyperactivity, etc. … but again, when our approach is based upon such mechanical ways of finding a remedy (which most homeopaths commonly do), the results are predictably minimal and disappointing.
Sequential Homeopathy is similar to this approach. This is one of the main reasons why Sequential Homeopathy gives many, many different remedies. The attempt is to affect as many symptoms as possible superficially with the hope of arriving at deep results.
I will explain how my own refined methodologies contrast with these common, standard – ineffective – approaches… but first I’ll preface that by offering an apt metaphor about ‘snorkeling’ and ‘diving’ in the open sea.
If you are ‘snorkeling’, then you are not ‘diving’. When you’re snorkeling, you are bobbing up and down according to the movement of the waves. The sounds you hear while snorkeling are still very much of our living above-the-water world, and what you can see on the bottom of the water is not quite reachable. If you swim down to touch the bottom, it’s only for a short moment, which affords you little time to contemplate and understand that unique sea-floor environment.
When you’re ‘diving’, the sense of the ocean is completely different. Descending into the ocean one gets a sense of its immensity & power, but also its nurturing womblike quality. The sound of the ocean also becomes very different, it is no longer of the land but rather it sounds more like the Universe with a deep calming hum. The senses are far more involved in diving, and the understanding is far greater. Descend even deeper than the usual dive, and the experience again becomes deeper and is no longer so much about the vastness of the ocean but rather its depth and darkness and how impossible it is to really comprehend it all – much like it is impossible to comprehend the whole universe.
“Taking the case” of these Autistic children requires us to similarly dive to their unique personal depths, seeing and comprehending these deep states of disorder as experienced by the patients themselves.
“If only my child could go to the bathroom on an everyday basis… he would feel more comfortable during the day. I see that he is hurting, but if he were not in so such pain, he would be able to focus and he would make progress.”
I understand how a parent might feel hopeful via such rationalizations, but such simple linear thinking will not lead to the ultimate cure we’re searching for. As I mentioned, it was the accepted method and I used it myself at the beginning of my career. Some symptoms may be eliminated this way, but then we face an undesirable possibility that these remedies themselves may start actively contributing to the patients ‘disease picture’ – potentially muddling our ability to clearly discern the child’s own deeper state of ailment separate from the influence of any medical interventions.
Earlier in my career, I refined my approach by asking questions such as general desires, and aversion of the child with the mother, and/or the father, as well as the likes and dislikes, and trying to go deeper from there. The results were a tad better than before (when only single symptoms were addressed), but again, these early results were not yet the breakthrough I was heading toward.
Fast forward a few years and there was this new idea, borne out of our colleagues in India, seen especially in extended families where the same remedy can be effective for several generations. For example, the grandmother, mother and the child come to the office, and after each going through their individual consultations, they all need the same remedy. During such family consultations, the homeopath comes to understand parent comments such as “I understand perfectly how he feels…” or “I know exactly what my child is going through because when I was a child myself, I had the same feeling he is trying to tell”. Statements like this can point to a resonance between two individuals in a deep and meaningful manner. Then the homeopath can ask the mother to expand on what the child is saying. The effect of this deeper understanding – derived from the parents consultations (not the child/patients consultations) – expanded the choice of remedies greatly and lead to being able to give more accurate and deeper acting remedies than I was previously able to do.
Probing feelings and physical pains through the parents yielded better results in cases of organic illnesses such as asthma, or skin disease, gastrointestinal issues, auto immune diseases etc…. I called that the “family homeopathic genetic tree”, but for autistic children (as opposed to regular children) it was nearly impossible to use because of their lack of speech, and the fact that a parent does not experience autism much beyond simple reflections such as “I feel like he wants to come out”.
As an extension to the family homeopathic genetic tree, I started to ask the mother about the pregnancy. This really came about by accident after a mother told me that she did not feel at all like herself during the pregnancy and she was wondering if “that” had influenced her child to be autistic. It raised an eyebrow, and I relentlessly asked her to describe as much as possible about her physical, emotional and mental state during her pregnancy. This new focus felt promising – and the good new additional information I gleamed felt as if a veil had been lifted on this mysterious disease. It was the first time I felt like I was getting substantially useful information to make a deeper, more informed, recommendation of a remedy. This new process was yielding me increasingly accurate best-indicated remedy choices.
From this time of better appreciating the mother’s recollections of her pregnancy experience, in many cases this new focus provided a crucial window for me to see and finally understand the unique state of inner disorder of the individualized ASD child. Going this new route began to bear better remedy choice results on a regular basis, but it wasn’t yet the ultimate formula – there was still a need for further improvement, still a ‘diving distance’ to go before reaching ‘the seabed floor’ and finally gleaming the silent patient’s unique profuse mosaic ASD picture – significantly increasing my prospect of delivering a complete reversal.
From patient to patient I was getting better and better using this newly improved process. But still – it was a difficult, and a not yet assured formula for my most challenging ASD cases. It felt like I still needed to ‘dive deeper’ to reach such illuminating levels required for my most difficult cases.
To better illustrate this process, I’ll present a compendium of my early experiences with many different mothers.
To begin with, when I asked these mothers about their pregnancies in the greatest detail possible, four key stages were elucidated:
1: The moment she knew she was pregnant. This is an instinctual feeling. I have seen mothers know they were pregnant right at the moment the egg is being impregnated with the sperm. It is often a strong, indelible moment the mother can easily go into at great depth. That can yield great homeopathically relevant information, but some caution should be taken as the arousal of the intercourse can overwhelm the deeper feelings, it can also be quite delicate for the mother to talk about.
2: The moment the mother “officially” finds out she is pregnant. This is different from the mother ‘knowing’ she is pregnant (as in #1 above) and is commonly the time of taking the pregnancy test. Here of course the depth of my probing needs to elicit insightful feedback much deeper than merely comments such as “I was excited” or “I was scared”.
3: The whole nine months of pregnancy. How did you feel? With hindsight, a lot of women say they were not at all themselves when they were pregnant. This is a very useful insight for two reasons. First, it is a direct reflection of the state of disorder of the child (not the disease). The pregnancy is like a grafting upon the mother from the child, like when the pregnant mother asks “Honey, can you buy a couple of jars of pickles” or “I want to go to the beach” in sub-freezing temperature, whereas if you were not pregnant ninety degrees outside would barely get you to go sleeveless. These seemingly meaningless comments can actually have a deeper meaningful connotation if followed through – I’ll do that;
4: The delivery. This is a moment during the pregnancy that can be either easy, or it can be quite difficult, and at times even traumatic. Whether the pregnancy or the delivery is “good or bad”, “easy or difficult”, does not predicate an ASD outcome. For the purpose of finding a deeper acting homeopathic remedy nothing can be taken at face value. An easy delivery can be reflective of an easy pregnancy. “It was so easy” which ideally can make you calm but… a pregnancy with an inactive child in utero, with minimal kicking and little to no effect on the mother, a much uneventful pregnancy followed by an uncommonly easy delivery, “as if nothing had happened” may reflect a dull state of disorder in the child. In turn, the dullness may be reflected in the physical body in the form of hypotonia, and emotionally, as dull emotions showing up as ‘never crying’. Once we look at it this way, “dullness” becomes crucial and most likely reflects the state of disorder on all levels. In such a case “dullness” affords us a branch we can hold onto and start going deeper into the characterizing aspects of the dullness.
I remember a mother who talked to me about her easy pregnancy, she said she didn’t think much about it while she was pregnant because when she mentioned it to people around her and to her doctor – she was dismissed. Basically, people said to her “just be happy, it is so” and she stopped thinking about it, but actually she new it was not quite right. Indeed, one of the most prominent qualities of this child was his dullness.
The opposite can be true as well, a flamboyant state can echo a hyperactive child, climbing on all furniture and waking at 4AM and not needing anymore sleep for the rest of the day. Anything is possible and needs to be investigated in its deepest recesses in order to find absolutely/precisely the characterizing nature of the disorder. I am necessarily brushing broad strokes with such generalized words as “dull” or “hyperactive”, but these qualities can afford us the beginning of the deeper dive required to take place before we’re able to get to the bottom, before we can reach ‘the seabed floor’ and clearly see the deepest core of our patients own uniquely profuse ASD mosaic.
So, I ask about the pregnancy and depending on WHAT the mother says and HOW she says it, together we can focus on one of these four potential stages to obtain more information and a deeper understanding. I don’t rigidly segregate my analysis into these 4 discrete stages of pregnancy, but rather attempt to comprehend the pregnancy as a whole.
Toward my ever pressing objective of achieving even better results, I began to sense there was an opportunity to improve my process by bringing the father into my diagnosis equation.
I don’t share the popular view of fathers as being clueless and dumb about everything when it comes to babies and child rearing. I also do not share the notion that men don’t have feelings and that when they do they are fleeting or less. I sometimes see cultural differences with some families when it comes to parenting.
Men can be great stores of deep beautiful emotions, albeit these emotions are often suppressed and men lack confidence in expressing them. In these parenting regards, I feel like there has been a widespread neglect of men and their emotional needs in our society.
I took a case where the father (not the mother as usual) gave me the interview. That not only warmed my heart but also told me that it was possible for the father to access and make a connection into the state of disorder of the child during pregnancy. It seems natural and logical to me now, but at that first time I worried it might be a stretch.
I was thrilled! The case worked beautifully – by getting both parents involved like this… I felt like I had double the usual resources to help elucidate the core state of disorder in the child. I had more options than my usual cases where the father is often not involved.
Sometime later I received the case of an adopted child. I thought “what do I do now?” During the first consultation I felt completely disarmed, disoriented, and I went back to the old fashion way of taking symptoms and repertorizing as best I could… and hoped for the best. But it bugged me!
After mulling over the issue for some time, I realized that not being the biological parents should not in itself preclude such parents from the potential promises of my enhanced, refined, methodology. Love is as important a conductor as biology, and this promises us our ultimate potential to elucidate the core of the case. So, I spoke to the mother, and we began to discuss her autistic daughter. Through her love for her adapted daughter, she was able to effectively “get into her skin” and provide me a vivid picture of the child’s own unique expression of ASD. The mother’s insights were genuine and on-point, and with these I was able to achieve a successful reversal. Later in my career I welcomed additional cases of such “orphanage autism” confident that biology was not in itself a wall preventing the effective application of my refined methodology.
With my continuing success even in these more challenging cases (with fathers as the surrogates, with adapted parents as the surrogates), my process seemed to be closer to completion. Now the mother, and/or the father, biological or not, could effectively utilize my method to elucidate the core ASD mosaic of their child. This was wonderful, and my results kept getting better.
As I worked this refined method, arching back to the mother’s state during pregnancy, I noticed that what happened most often was that the mother would give me an overview, more or less detailed, of the four stages of her pregnancy, and then as a natural continuation of this process after the delivery – would start speaking about the child. At that point I would interrupt, and I would ask to go back and start probing one of the four stages of her pregnancy I felt would give us the most useful information.
One day I was consulting a particularly talkative and eloquent mother. I decided to not interrupt her where I normally would. It seemed right to just let her talk about the child. I sat back and listened. As she was speaking about her child’s difficult behaviors, even in broad terms, I realized she was introducing what I now call “doors”, which are generally specific abnormal behaviors of the child. It can be anything. For example, a mother said her child taps on everything with his thumb. Or the child draws what looks like labyrinths. These are highly individualized behaviors or habits.
The process is brilliant. There is no need to cut the flow, there is just a need to listen and wait for these doors to spontaneously present themselves, make a note of them and wait for the parent to naturally run out of things to say about the child, at which point I can go back and choose to go through one of these doors with more penetrating questions.
I came to realize that by walking through these “child specific doors”, we go into the child. Using these doors, the information became more detailed – but there was a risk of being tainted by the parent herself. Once “into the child” one’s own rational mind cannot be used. Rather, at that point when the case taking is done well the parent begins to become the child (almost unbeknown to her) and her right side of the brain begins to activate. Love is the conductor and the process of targeted questions and the answers that flow out of that space “massages” the creative mind enough to allow the process to go deeper. This is no longer you – or even rational.
In this way, in those cases where we’re able to reach this point, the parent becomes the child’s “surrogate representative”.
Once into the child – via the parent surrogate like this – we need to go through the child. It is like going into an imaginative world of feelings and emotions completely INDEPENDENT of you. A detachment from the self needs to occur. It is a little bit like when an actor takes on a role. You need to fully put yourself aside much like when you are pregnant and ask the father to buy that jar of pickles! The exception here is that during the consultation you tap into it… rather than being subjected to it. We need to access that state. The more information that can come to us like this – the more pure and untainted this information is coming from the child. It is like taking a trip through the child.
This is not a simple or easy process. It requires a lot of time (2-3 hours), concentration and focus. Love is the conductor to the fuse. Once (previously occulted) recesses of the child are revealed… and then we can go deeper. It is like a meditation; it is like reaching the canvas that holds the pain; it is like finally reaching the seabed floor. Very often the parent who is answering my questions tells me afterward “I can’t believe what have we done, now I understand exactly how he feels. It is a certainty – and I never knew it before.”
This is the deepest point that can be reached. The depth needed to reach this level is profound – it is ‘beyond the veil’. It is from this revealed stage that I have formulated my thinking about what autism means, why it is so prominent now, and when it will decrease. Only then do I feel like I can give a remedy that will be remedial to the child… that is the best-indicated remedy.
Paradoxically, this newly gleamed deep perspective can also seem the least objective of all, and often may not make complete sense. I may be asked by the parent “How can we be sure this is accurate? How do we know it is not my imagination?” Most of the time if we arc back to the state during the pregnancy, it will match in very similar ways what was found during our earlier “going into, through and beyond” interview. There are many ways of confirming what the parent (having substituted as the child’s surrogate) has said. Confirming it from different angles is always part of the consultation. The remedy is rooted in the eventual deepest state revealed by the parent.
The door lead us into, through and beyond the child – and that resulted in a groundedness we can rely upon to choose the best-indicated remedy.
Homeopathy is not about finding balance. I don’t care much for balance, it is a difficult and uncomfortable task… but I am totally behind being grounded. When one is grounded there is no need for balance, there is no need to juggle supplements to palliate this or that symptom. There is no need to chase the candida and chelate the heavy metals. The true measure of good health is not so much how we stay balanced (an act that always brings to mind trying to balance yourself on a circus highwire tightrope). The true measure of good health is when little needs to be done to remain clear minded and pain free in the whirlwind of life. Such a promise for this same good heath is possible for these kids too.
At this deep level, the information is essentially distilled. Universal is what unites rather than divides in this deepest state. This is the meeting point right before spirituality where the body and mind unite to form the canvas that will hold the painting of life itself. The information at this level is uniquely individual… while simultaneously universal.
A paradox we live with… a paradox we work with to ultimately reverse autism.