“Shutter Island*” and the advantage of having nightmares


“What brought you here?”
is one of the most important questions we ask our patients when we meet them for the first time. Patients with chronic problems have usually been living for quite some time with their symptoms but suddenly feel they need to seek help. Why so? Because something recently happened in their lives which caused the pain to increase and the pain is certainly not only physical but also emotional. In German we use the term “Leidensdruck” and a direct translation into English could be “The suffering a person experiences pressurizes him to act” whereas a more common translation would be “Psychological Strain” (2).

The answer to the question above gives the therapist some valuable insight into the patient’s inner life as the triggers to develop symptoms or for his symptoms to get worse are on a very individual level.

And now I want to share what happened to myself in January 2011.

I thought I was happy with my life then but in fact I was not and I was not aware of it. I had some symptoms but did not pay much attention.

And one evening, I found myself watching the movie “Shutter Island” (1) and the movie scared me very much. Over the next three days I had a pulse of 120 and it did not want to come down. And then there were terrible dreams about concentration camps and violence and about being imprisoned. Around the same time my favourite uncle was very ill and I was very worried about him. So suddenly I understood that I needed some help, that I was unable to fix this myself.

I contacted my colleague Francis Treuherz in London and told him that I was not feeling well. We started to talk about my present symptoms and my history and after carefully analysing my case, he prescribed the first remedy.

Being a homeopath myself, I was very aware of the subtle changes the remedy created in myself and I was fascinated to observe and learn from this experience. To understand patients well, we have to be patients as well from time to time and we have to be able to completely allow ourselves to be treated by another therapist without intervening or insisting to know better.

How does a homeopath experience her own treatment? Can her knowledge and her experience be in the way or can they enhance the healing process?
Both can happen!

How did it feel for me? I initially thought the remedy could not be right for me. Hahaha …
But one of the first responses was a flow within my body. Movement and change in a subtle way. I got very thirsty for water and drank a lot more water than previously, being almost thirstless before. And more and more I noticed this very fine energy of the remedy and this was amazing.

The feeling of the energy of the remedy helped me to face the fears the movie triggered in myself and I had to face them in order to overcome them, there was no other way. It felt like a mass or something very compacted to open up and expand, but by expanding becoming less compact and lighter. This process continued for several months.

My homeopathic treatment with Francis continued for about two years and I learned a lot about myself, about my individual energy, my visions and what I need in my life to be happy.

Today, the first time after 5 years, I watched “Shutter Island” again and in the beginning of the movie I was scared and I had the feeling of having a high pulse again but when I checked, it was only 85. So not 120 as it felt. And I could clarify for myself what exactly scared me in this movie and I understood.

I am now happy that I saw this movie in January 2011. Everything what happens to us makes sense within the bigger picture. Certainly this is not always convenient! The movie was a dense and compacted form of what I was going through internally at that time – symbolically of course.
And now I am not scared any longer.

I would like to encourage my collegues to start sharing their own homeopathic stories and to share what they felt while they were treated homeopathically. Because of the heightened sensitivity of our collegueswe can learn more and more about the deep energetic responses to a remedy as they are individually experienced.

One of most fundamental aim of homeopathic treatment is to bring back harmony to oneself. We need to create a new inner balance. A lot has been written about the action of homeopathic remedies and they all appear very complex. And the action of a remedy is indeed very complex but has one simple task:

“Homeopathic remedies prescribed in low doses spaced intermittently over time act as biological signals that stimulate the organism’s allostatic biological stress response network, evoking nonlinear modulatory, self-organising change.” (3)

Inner equilibrium can be compared to the equilibrium of the universe. Equlibrium is being in balance, being in communication, being in contact, being alive, being ONE.

Ernesto Cardenal: Das Buch von der Liebe, Edition 1987, translation from Spanish: Anneliese Schwarzer de Ruiz (4), original version “Vida en el amor” Seite (page) 24: Alle Dinge stehen in Beziehung zueinander, die einen verstehen sich durch die anderen und diese durch wieder andere, so daß dasganze Universum ein einziges vielumfassendes Ding ist.
(my own translation: Everything is connected to each other, some understand themselves only through the existence of others and these others need again others to understand themselves so that the whole universe embraces itself in being comprehensively one.)

Erich Fromm wrote in his book “Art of Loving”:
“Only in this ‘central experience’ is human reality, only here is aliveness, only here is the basis for love.”

* “Shutter Island is a 2010 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by
Martin Scorsese” (Wikipedia)

2 http://www.linguee.com/german-english/translation/leidensdruck.html

3 “A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-
Adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system” by Prof Iris R Bell and Mary Koithan, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012

4 “Das Buch von der Liebe”, Das poetische Werk Band 4, Edition 1987, Güterloher Verlagshaus Mohn, translation from Spanish: Anneliese Schwarzer de Ruiz, original version “Vida en el amor”

5 « The Art of Loving » by Erich Fromm 1956, Harper Colllins Publishers

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Maria Malan
Maria Malan, DHom, PGHom (UK), was living in Southern African for over 20 years. She was registered as a Classical Homeopath in Johannesburg since 2000 and runs a private practice, recently especially in Munich, Germany. In South Africa she also treated victims of violence in close co-operation with clinical psychotherapists. Maria is at the moment in training as a counsellor and coach with the Institute Integrio in Munich and her vision is long-term to combine homeopathy with psychotherapy.