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Members of The Society of Homeopaths – who are we?

Each of the 1300 registered members of The Society of Homeopaths has an individual story to tell, a story about illness, and a journey to health – a life-changing inspiration that led them to train as homeopathic practitioners.

For most, it was either their own ill health or that of someone close that led them to try homeopathy, which led to a growing interest and eventually a desire to train as homeopaths, often giving up other careers to do so.

Although our members come from all walks of life, with a wide variety of professional backgrounds and experience, what they share is a passion for homeopathy and a commitment to their patients that they will do their very best to help them regain good health.

What follows is a glimpse of some of our members so that you might gain a little understanding of who we are and where we have come from.

Previous careers featured here are: pharmacist, investment banker, solicitor, journalist and teacher.

Former science teacher Graz Baran

Completed her studies at the School of Homeopathy, Devon in 1992. 

Degree in Chemical Physics, University of Kent
Secondary school science teacher for 17 years, in inner London.
Educational research worker, Post-16 Education Centre, Institute of Education, University of London.

Graz says: “Tiredness and stress after two school amalgamations in succession led me to discover acupuncture. I was naturally sceptical, yet I was amazed at the results. From then onwards I became fascinated by the alternative treatments available and explored cranial osteopathy, the Alexander technique and homeopathy, all of which had instant and significant effects on a range of different ailments.

“My specific interest in the philosophy and theory of homeopathy led me to use it with my children. I remember my 16 month old being stung by a wasp, her arm rapidly and visibly swelling in front of me. My husband has an allergy to wasp stings so I was quite alarmed. I gave her a remedy and her distress stopped instantly. She slept in my arms for an hour during which the redness and swelling disappeared. I have never looked back since.”

Graz practices in North London and Buckinghamshire

Former journalist Tina Burchill

Completed her studies at the School of Homeopathy, Devon in 2005. Media consultant and Newsletter editor for the Society of Homeopaths. 

Degree in Humanities from the Polytechnic of Wales (now University of Mid Glamorgan)

Trained as a journalist with the Northavon Gazette series of weekly newspapers, completing the National Council for the Training of Journalists proficiency examination. Worked for several regional newspapers, and became assistant news editor with the Leicester Mercury, before working as a freelance for national magazines and newspapers, focusing largely on health issues.

Tina says: “When my son was four months old, he developed severe eczema which covered him from head to foot. We were unhappy about the side effects of the hydrocortisone cream prescribed by the doctor, which anyway only worked for a short time before there was another flare up. My son’s face was sometimes covered in weeping spots and I felt strongly that there must be something out there that could help.

“I’d become interested in alternative approaches to conventional medicine after suffering from kidney problems helped greatly by Chinese herbal medicine, and it was the herbalist who suggested homeopathy. Within five months the eczema was completely gone! My son has continued to suffer from allergies, but less so as time has passed and we rarely need to use conventional medicine. Later, I also had homeopathic treatment myself, and became intrigued with this different approach to health and illness to the point where I was inspired to train as a homeopath.”

Tina practices in Leicester

Registered nurse Alistair Dempster

Completed his studies at the North West College of Homeopathy in 1991.  

Degree (MA(Hons)) in Modern History and Political Science at Dundee

Graduated as a Registered General Nurse. After working in neurology, went on to work as a medic in the offshore oil industry.

Alistair says: “A chapter on homeopathy in a complementary medicine anthology was the catalyst for my enquiries into training. Let me explain. During my nurse training and then as a staff nurse in neurosurgery after qualification in 1982, I had already become concerned about the limitations of conventional medical practice. Life, I felt, was about achieving a healthy balance. However, I found the scales of received cultural perceptions weighed so heavily towards technical medical practice that the “art” of medicine in treating the patient as whole person seemed lost. Fortunately much is being done today to try and redress that imbalance by improving collaborative practice and integrated care.

In 2004 I rejoined the NHS in my nursing capacity and hoped to find ways of including homeopathy. At present I divide my work time between practice, the NHS and study. In 2007 I started an MSc Advance Nurse Practitioner course at Huddersfield University. Safe, effective practice and clinical competence are key drivers of the course and in that context I run surgeries along a similar line to my GP colleagues – one of whom is my clinical mentor. Within this context opportunities for homeopathic treatment have arisen and will hopefully develop further when I complete the course. GP colleagues now refer patients to me having seen positive results from the cases I have seen.

Alistair practices in Huddersfield and has twice been elected onto the Society’s board of directors.

Former pharmacist Felicity Lee

Completed her studies at the School of Homeopathy in Devon in 1985. 

Degree in Pharmacy from Manchester University, with pre-registration training at Guy’s Hospital in London.

Worked as a hospital pharmacist, which included two years at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto which was carrying out pioneering work in both radio and chemotherapy. Gained an MSc in Pharmacology, and then ran the Welsh Drug Information Service in Cardiff, encouraging the rational prescribing of drugs by providing evaluated information to doctors and nurses.

Felicity says: “After nine years I wanted to travel again and arranged an exchange visit to Austin hospital in Melbourne. While I was there I reached an important turning point. A friend suffered an allergic reaction to my perfume and I was amazed when she quickly responded to the drops her homeopath had given her. All the symptoms disappeared and without any of the sedative side effects of the antihistamines then available. When I returned to Wales, I decided to find out more about this form of medicine that I had been so sceptical about, eventually deciding to train. My background in pharmacy has been very useful to me as a homeopath and as a founder member of the government’s Advisory Board on the Registration of Homeopathic Products.”

Felicity practices in Cardiff and lectures at various colleges. She has spent two terms of office as a director of the Society, including three years as chair.

Former investment banker Jayne Thomas

Completed her studies at the Soluna School of Homeopathy in 1999. Jayne is former Chair of The Society of Homeopaths board of directors. 

Degree in chemistry from Somerville College, Oxford University.

Was a city insurance broker working up to investment banking vice president for Kidder Peabody International.

Jayne says: “I came to homeopathy as a mum. A friend’s baby had extreme eczema made better by homeopathy. At the time I myself was suffering from a recurring tumour on the gum – surgically removed three times and needing a fourth operation when homeopathy was suggested. I thought it only did “skin stuff”, and was completely sceptical but I wanted to avoid another operation especially as I was pregnant. Three tablets later I did not need to have the operation!

“Suffice to say I was intrigued and decided to study it, embarking on a first aid course. This only increased my interest and before I knew it I was enrolled at college a year later. I never intended to practice and only studied to satisfy myself and gain an understanding.

“To my great surprise, the more I learnt, experienced and debated with peers and friends, the more I found homeopathy and its holistic approach to be scientific and ordered in its approach and it sat happily in line with my previous training. I worried I might need to believe or adopt some kind of religious belief but found the real skills needed by a homeopath were clear thought and precise observation of the patient and their symptoms. Now I absolutely love it – there is always something new to learn, a difficult case to challenge and of course, most intriguing, the ongoing debate and flow of ideas to understand exactly how it works.”

Jayne practices in Buckinghamshire.

Former solicitor Sarah Whittaker

Completed her training at the London College of Classical Homeopathy and the South East College of Homeopathy in 2003. 

Degree in English from the University of Sussex.
Gained a graduate diploma from the College of Law.
Completed legal training at London law firm Mishcon de Reya.

Worked at Mishcon de Reya as an assistant solicitor specialising in commercial litigation.

Joined BPP law school as a lecturer teaching criminal and civil litigation to prospective solicitors and barristers at postgraduate level. Became head of litigation on the legal practice course.

Sarah says: “I discovered homeopathy after becoming almost totally paralysed by multiple sclerosis and another related neurological condition in 1995-1996. Before I started seeing a homeopath at the age of 29, I was really depressed, on loads of conventional drugs, relying on a stair lift, carers and walking aids, and I really felt hopeless.

“Within six months, with my doctor’s consent, the homeopath I saw had helped me to wean myself off all the medications I’d been prescribed, and I was starting to feel stronger, both physically and emotionally. I realised that something so powerful and yet so gentle and natural was vitally important, so I decided then and there to make homeopathy my new career.”

Sarah practices in East Sussex.