Kent's Comparative Repertory of Homeopathic Materia Medica
The two Belgian homeopaths Dr. Kokelenberg and Dr. Dockx give a valuable introduction to how best use Kent's Repertory, with many additions, cross-references, and explanations. "This book is without doubt the most valuable and best work on Kent's Repertory that I know." Linda Johnston, Resonance. RESONANCE MARCH - APRIL 1989: Our Materia Medica is the window through which we see our patients. The vast amount of knowledge contained in the volumes of Materia Medica offers us the ability to cure, but not without the Herculean task of learning, comprehending and utilizing that wealth of knowledge. The former is certainly dependent on how we accomplish the latter. Whereas all the guiding symptoms we need are available in the Materia Medicas, without easy access to this information, it is difficult, if not impossible, to use these books alone to prescribe. Repertories have been a natural out-growth of the Materia Medica and were developed to organize the vast amount of information. They are decidedly the key to the Materia Medica, as every homeopath from beginner to master will agree. Today, Kent's repertory is the acknowledged standard. A familiarity and clear understanding of the language and meanings and organization within this repertory are critical for accurate prescribing in homeopathy. Despite the central role of the repertory in homeopathy, there have been virtually no resources available to instruct the student of homeopathy in the use, understanding, and methods of the repertory. There are dozens of Materia Medicas, with more being published all the time, yet for our most utilized reference we have been left on our own to unlock its wisdom and apply it in our practices. Given this situation, I am sure that all homeopaths will welcome the English publication of the book Kent's Comparative Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica. This book can be regarded as the "instruction manual" for Kent's Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica. The book, originally in Flemish, is the master work of two of Belgium's finest homeopaths. Drs. Kokelenberg and Dockx have each made a life's work of the study and application of the repertory. In addition to their homeopathic practices, they have spent years gathering knowledge and insights from a wide variety of sources, including Pascero, Barthel, Vithoulkas, Kunzli and others. This accumulated wisdom has been translated into the language of the repertory, a step above simply making additions to a Materia Medica. The first presentation of this material was in a seminar series to homeopaths in Belgium. The format was an intensive and thorough review of the repertory, including rubric definitions, additions, Materia Medica with differential diagnoses, and cross references, proceeding page by page, rubric by rubric. It may seem that a class of this type would be tedious and monotonous. On the contrary, their repertory class became one of the most popular series in Europe. The instructors now have numerous requests for a repeat performance! Last year, I had the opportunity to discuss the seminar with several of its students to find out what made the class so special. They all found the information extremely valuable, but even more outstanding was the entertaining, engaging, and fascinating presentation of material that, in another context, could be difficult to study. The most fre-quent comment was that Drs. Kokelenberg and Dockx "brought the repertory to life." The transcripts of the original seminar were compiled and edited to produce the first edition of the Kent's Comparative Repertory, approximately 700 pages!! Translation into French, German, and now English have been ongoing over the past year. To facilitate distribution of this valuable work as soon as possible, it is being sold as a quarterly subscription over a three year period. This has the advantage of allowing a thorough study of the information, including time to enter additions and cross references, before the next installment arrives. Currently, the first four sections are available in English, constitufing the first year of the subscription. These 200 pages cover the MIND section. There are four main areas of special interest in the book: 1. Definitions, 2. Cross References, 3. New Rubrics and Additions, and 4. Materia Medica and Differential Diagnosis.
1. Definitions: Understanding the language of the repertory is the most important aspect of its use. Exact meanings and usages of the terminology in the repertory are explained. There are many instances where terms are compared and the subtle differences between them are pointed out. For example, the difference between "bashful" and "timidity". Bashful indicates modest, shy and easily confused, whereas timidity has the aspect of fearfulness, lack of courage. Occasionally a rubric is defined by siniply restating it, however, that is the exception and seems to occur only when the definition is very obvious and really needed no further explanation. 2. Cross References: The book includes many, many cross references which are extremely helpful. I found this aspect to add a dimension to the repertory that I had not fully appreciated before. Some of the cross referencing refers to synonyms, such as "abrupt" crossing to "impulsiveness" and "rashness." Other occasions, the cross reference points to a similar rubric in another location, such as "delusions, criticized, that she is," from page 23, appears in related forms on pages 20: "thinks she is accused," 22: "imagines others will observe her confusion," 23: "that he is despised," 28: "thinks she is insulted," "imagines she is laughed at," and 35: "that he is being watched." The cross referencing helps you become aware of parts of the repertory that rtiay have escaped your notice. It also helps to point out minor, yet important, differences between remedies. This can be appreciated through the observance of remedies in one rubric which are absent it from similar rubrics. 3. New Rubrics and Additions. There are a number of additions and all have been clinically observed and come from reliable sources such as Barthel or Vithoulkas. The new rubrics are especially helpful, usually being small and therefore highlighting the strange, rare and peculiar. For example "Carried, over the shoulder, desires to be" is a more specific for Cina that other remedies which want to be carried. Other new rubrics such as "Revelry," "Passionate," and "Extrovert"' generally help expand the repertory's usefulness. 4. Materia Medica and Differential Diagnosis: Frequently, a rubric will be defined and discussed by comparing the major remedies in it. It is extremely helpful to see how a specific remedy represents the characterisfic of that rubric. These discussions include clinical experiences and examples of patients' behavior, comments, or reactions. Many of the smaller, less well known, remedies have been included and this helps to bring them into use. Psorinum, Hura, Nux moschata, Carcinosinum, Ambra grisea, Robinia, Fagopyrum, Thea and others are given attention. They are mentioned in connection with the rubrics listing them, which facilitates remembering the remedy, its characteristics, and where you will find it when you need it! The overall book is, without question, the most valuable and useful book I have ever found on the repertory. The information it contains is reliable, very practical and it covers every aspect of the repertory. The authors have taken their own actual experience and translated it into a form that is both useable and applicable to others. The book is easy to read and much of the humor and entertaining style of presentation that so distinguished their seminar is present in the book. The translafion from Flemish to English is excellent; no effort is needed to understand and enjoy the text. Kent's Comparative Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica is an outstanding addition to our educational tools and promises to be among the classic books in homeopathy.