Report from the UK practitioner conference
Most of you will know that the first ever full-scale conference of Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners was held at St Catherine’s College, Oxford on Sunday the 25th April this year.
The day-long conference was organised and sponsored by Nelsons, and featured presentations by Nelsons Education and Marketing staff as well as representatives from the Bach Centre and guest speakers.
120 practitioners attended, mostly from the UK, and the day was a huge success. Everyone enjoyed meeting friends old and new, and since the event many letters of thanks and congratulations have come to us and Nelsons from practitioners who attended. The overwhelming message has been: please do it again!
Over coming issues of the Bulletin we will be featuring some of the key presentations made at the conference. In the meantime, here is an overview of the subjects discussed during the day.
- Judy Howard from the Bach Centre kicked off the day by welcoming practitioners to the conference. She reminded everyone present of the practitioner tea parties that Nora Weeks used to hold, and read out an old Newsletter item in which Nora wondered whether we might one day have to hire a hall to fit everyone in. It had taken forty years to get the hall hired, but here we all were at last!
- Charlotte Sundberg from the Marketing Department at Nelsons outlined the programme for the day, and presented the results of a survey of BFRPs. One of the key requests that practitioners had made was to have a conference; other requests had included support material for exhibitions and help in getting more referrals. The aim of the conference was to start to meet those needs.
- Sue Walkley and Camilla Legerton of the PR company Maureen Cropper Communications gave a presentation showing how practitioners could use basic PR techniques to help contact more clients. They showed how easy it is to write press releases, and how best to talk to journalists and other media people so as to communicate the benefits of the remedies and the services that practitioners could offer.
- Lynn Macwhinnie, BFRP and BIEP trainer, continued the PR theme by talking through her experiences on radio phone-in shows and with journalists. She gave concrete examples of how the consultation skills used with clients can also be helpful when dealing with journalists, and compared practitioners with girl guides: both needed to be prepared.
- Roger Cowdrey of the Thames Valley Business Enterprise gave an extremely entertaining presentation on the basics of running a small business. He reminded the audience that in order to help people as practitioners we need to stay in business, and that means attending to the nitty-gritty of business. His presentation was also a textbook example of how to present a ‘difficult’ subject in a clear and down-to-earth way – something that could be relevant to every practitioner trying to explain the finer points of remedy selection to clients.
- To finish up the morning’s work, Charlotte Sundberg detailed the support materials that were being launched for BFRPs in the UK. These included exhibition materials available on loan, books available for prize draws, and financial and technical support for practitioners who wanted to advertise their services in local newspapers. Practitioners outside the UK were advised to contact their national co-ordinators for to see if any similar initiatives were being planned.
- After lunch, Stefan Ball of the Bach Centre put the morning’s concentration on PR and business into its philosophical context: the remedies are there for people to use, and our job as BFRPs is to do everything we can to make access to them easier. He stressed the importance of education and explained how practitioners could get more involved in the education effort. The Bach Centre was piloting schemes like the Bach Foundation Teachers Programme in the UK, but the intention was to launch education in other countries as soon as that was practical.
- Karen Chapman, Head of the Bach International Education Programme (BIEP), gave practitioners an overview of the aims and objectives of BIEP, and of the UK activities of Nelsons Education. The Education Department and the Centre worked closely together to ensure that Dr Bach’s philosophy was at the heart of education. The scale of the success achieved was shown by the fact that on the day of the conference there were 22 different BIEP courses running at different locations around the world, and already 30,000 people had received training under the programme.
- Next on the platform were Martine Viniger, BIEP Co-ordinator in France, and Susanne Løfgreen, BIEP Co-ordinator in Denmark. Each gave an overview of the particular challenges and issues involved in setting up the education programme in their countries. The regulatory context and the history of the remedies differed from country to country, but it was important to set an international standard for practice with the remedies, and to anchor that clearly to the principles of Dr Bach himself.
- Laureen Hemming, Scheme Tutor of Health and Community Care at the University of Hertfordshire, talked about the challenges involved in getting the remedies accepted in the world of orthodox health care and orthodox education. The practitioner-level course set up at Hertfordshire University represented validation of the education programme, but more needed to be done to find ways to communicate the benefits of the remedies to sometimes sceptical professionals.
- Finally, a panel made up of Judy Howard, Stefan Ball, Karen Chapman and Charlotte Sundberg took questions from the floor. One of the subjects that came up was the question of badges, so without further ado…
We have been asked many times over the last eighteen months or so to issue a badge that BFRPs could wear so as to signal their status to clients.
The Bach signature logo can’t be used because it is a product logo; and the drawing of Mount Vernon that is used as the Centre’s logo looks like a small cabbage when reduced to the size of an enamel badge. The challenge has been therefore to come up with something appropriate.
We would like your help designing a badge and/or logo that can be used for the Bach Foundation programme – i.e. the Register and approved education. Send your sketches or ideas to us by the end of August. Any ideas that we use will get a very attractive prize.
The ideal logo and badge would represent something inherent in the remedies and our approach to using them: think along the lines of simplicity, balance, education etc. We want to avoid the ‘something-in-a-circle’ look that everyone else uses, but beyond that we are open to anything from a purely visual symbol to a mix of symbol and text to a purely textual approach. To get your brain cells working, to the right are a couple of ideas that have made it as far as the drawing board – but no further.
Proof that the web works!
In Italy there is more and more interest in Dr Bach and the Bach remedies. Unfortunately we know that quantity of coverage does not always mean quality. This is why we sometimes read strange things about Dr Bach’s method and the remedies in magazines and books, which only rarely reflect the original teachings we learnt in Mount Vernon.
A few days ago we received a call from a journalist working for the most important commercial TV company in Italy – Tele +. They had found our names and telephone number on the Bach Centre’s web site. They had to air the following day a programme on alternative medicine and they were looking for some ‘Bach experts’ to talk to.
A few hours later our rooms were transformed into a TV studio. We talked for more than two hours about Dr Bach’s philosophy and methods and about how to use the remedies.
We were really happy to contribute to a programme that would give out correct information. We were also fascinated by the international communications ballet that had taken place, from the TV company in Milan via Mount Vernon’s website, and back to Milan. And now, through the bulletin, on to all BFRPs in the world.
(Editor’s note: the ballet is even more international than that. I write all the web pages at Mount Vernon in Oxfordshire, but they are then sent via the internet to a large computer in California which actually hosts our website. The world really is getting smaller…)
from Patricia Campbell-Parker, England
I have been involved in organising a Bach stand at a biannual event called the Well-Being Fair. It began about five years ago offering flying and ground personnel at British Airways information and advice on natural preventative health care.
At the time I was a member of cabin crew myself and at the same time seriously involved in complementary therapies including, of course, the remedies. So it was a great opportunity to spread the word!
I couldn’t do it alone (Elm) so after making a few phone calls I recruited the help of some fellow-practitioners, sometimes without the promise of any real financial remuneration.
I feel the fairs have been a great success. We have advised, encouraged and made up remedies for many interested crew and people who work in operational support. Many of them have later gone on to do a one-day introductory workshop that I run.
So I wanted to use the pages of the bulletin to say thank you to Jean Adkin, Diane Chandler, Myriam de Mahe, Jackie Maliphant, Diane McGee, Iona Muncaster and Valerie Walker-Dendle. I couldn’t have done it without you!
I would also like to extend my appreciation to the team at Nelsons (Carly Hyde and Charlotte Sundberg) and at Mount Vernon, especially Kathy for her patience with my last minute (Hornbeam) orders for bottle labels and books etc.
Since the last (May) issue was prepared, 17 new practitioners have joined the register:
- in Brazil, Maria Aparecida Marczynski, Solange Maria Soares, Roseli Gasparotto Trabbold, Rubia Guerrero Martins, and Cassia Albertini Bilbao;
- in Canada, Astrid Robeznieks Gervais;
- in New Zealand, Heather Taylor;
- in Spain, Adriana Brengio, and Jose Chumillas Talavera;
- and in the UK, Mia Werson, Cath Harper, Pam Smith, Jennifer Larrad, Janet Lee, Lesley Lee, Christine Lomas, and Francois Marshall.
There are now 588 practitioners on the register.
There are two incidents that I would like to describe.
The first was a small girl aged three who came with her mother to the consultation. She was peacefully playing with some blocks I gave her while her mother explained to me what was going on in the family. All at once the mother told me she was intending to divorce the child’s father. Suddenly the little girl turned towards me and started throwing up.
I took a Rescue Remedy stock bottle and made her smell it and then put a couple of drops into her mouth. She immediately recovered and her mother took her to the bathroom to wash her. When they returned the little girl was shivering and frightened. So I put more drops on her temples while I talked to her gently. Three minutes later she was sitting on my lap, drawing as if nothing had happened.
The second case was a friend of mind whose two year old daughter is always on the go. Despite her age she will not stop talking to us and trying to persuade us to do what she wanted. (If it weren’t for the fact that she was only two she would make a perfect politician.)
We were having a cup of tea at home while she ran and jumped around us. She couldn’t stop moving about and gesturing with her arms.
Suddenly, in a matter of seconds, the little girl stood up on a chair and fell down, hitting her eyebrow on the edge of the wooden table. When her mother picked her up her face was all red with blood.
I ran to the stock bottles, took Star of Bethlehem, and after her mother cleaned the small wound (which continued to bleed copiously) I put a drop of the Star on it. In seconds the flow of blood slowed. I put on another drop – her mother couldn’t believe her eyes because immediately after the second drop the bleeding stopped. She looked at me in surprise and asked: ‘Are you a witch?’ What could I answer? I said nothing, and just thought: ‘Thank you, Dr Bach.’
Some days later my friend told me that her little girl was telling everybody that ‘Claudia has some little drops that cure you when you hit your head against something, and it doesn’t hurt any more.’
This archive material has been edited to remove some out-of-date advice and information.