Practitioner Bulletin no. 51 Sept/Oct 2003

Bach Foundation International Register
The Bach Centre
Mount Vernon
Bakers Lane
Oxon OX10 0PZ
Telephone +44 (0)1491 834678
Fax +44 (0)1491 825022


Quick reference guides

US BFRPs Alicia Sirkin and Elisabeth Wiley have created a one-page quick reference guide to the remedies which could be helpful during consultations or for educational purposes. The two sides of the paper give basic indications for all the remedies, enlivened with colour pictures of the flowers. The sheet is laminated in clear plastic so that it is easy to keep clean and use again and again.

If you want more information or would like to order a guide email

We have three copies of the quick reference guide to give away. If you would like a copy write to us before the end of October and tell us of an occasion in the past when the guide would have been just the thing. The most deserving cases will get a guide with our compliments!

Your letters

We want you to use this Bulletin to keep in touch with each other. If anything wonderful, funny, interesting or just plain typical has happened to you in your work with the remedies, or if there are any questions that have been nagging away at you, or if you simply want to say hello, please write to us at the Bach Centre, marking your letter clearly as being ‘FOR PUBLICATION’.

We can’t promise to print every letter in the Bulletin, but even if we don’t use your contribution we always love to hear from you.

I read the account on confidentiality in the May Bulletin with great interest. I found it very thought provoking and it has raised some issues that I can’t quite resolve for myself as a practitioner. I thought I would run it past you and ask for some guidance!

I know that there are special considerations when treating children, but is it always right to start the consultation by saying everything is confidential unless information is given indicating self-harm? Supposing a child does want to express suicidal thoughts would this not stop them from doing so in some cases? I suppose my difficulty is, how do you gain a child’s trust whilst still acting in a professional and ethical manner?

I have treated children, but haven’t come across this scenario as a BFRP. (I have been a Samaritan volunteer in the past and I think this may be where my dilemma comes from because in that role confidentiality is absolute). I also feel uncomfortable about breaking confidentiality when dealing with an adult in the same situation. If someone expresses suicidal intent we can suggest they see their doctor for example but would it be right for us to contact their GP if our client asks us not to…an adult has freedom of choice and would we just be making ourselves feel better by doing so? It would be interesting to know whether any BFRPs have ever approached a GP in this way and what response they got. I know from my own and others’ experiences as aromatherapists that GP’s are not always enthusiastic about approaches from complementary practitioners! Are there any hard and fast rules that the Bach Centre would like practitioners to adhere to in these situations?

Elaine Abel BFRP, UK

Hard and fast rules are difficult. What is clear in is that as BFRPs we should not be expected to bear the burden of somebody else’s suicidal tendency, which is why mentioning the limits of competence and of confidentiality at the start of a consultation can be a good idea. The situation is different for somebody who has other competencies (such as for example being trained in how to support suicidal people) because that person’s boundaries will be different.

The way in which ‘breaking confidentiality’ is mentioned is also important. If a BFRP just said to a child ‘I will tell your mother everything you say to me’ that would indeed close things off. But if we talk in more supportive terms about our job being to help and also where appropriate find other people to help, that would allow us to pass on responsibility for anything outside our competence but also give the child the confidence that he or she would be involved in identifying the right person to tell, which might be the GP, as in this case, or a teacher or school counsellor or parent or relative or vicar or whatever.

One rule of thumb in this difficult area is to do the thing that we can imagine justifying to a court of law. So, for example, if we had said to client A that everything she said would remain confidential, and client A then told us about his intention to murder his mother, we would go ahead and break that confidentiality because we would feel happier justifying breaking confidentiality to the Judge than we would be justifying our decision to say nothing. – Ed.

I felt uncomfortable about the practitioner breaking confidentiality over a teenager who talked of suicide. I’d like to make a few comments from the benefit of a counselling background.

It was helpful that this was discussed first with the client, but there was a definite break of confidentiality and hence a potential break of trust between client and practitioner. I can however understand how the practitioner decided to deal with the situation in the way she did. One may feel one is confronting the question of ‘what if I stick to absolute confidentiality and the client does commit suicide?’

I think it¹s important to try to distinguish between suicidal feelings, which are very common and which many people have at times, and genuine talk of suicide. It also seems that the fact that the person is talking about suicide significantly lessens the possibility of it happening. People who do kill themselves usually are not talking to anyone about it.

We also should remember that we are not ultimately responsible for our clients. We have responsibilities to our client, such as selecting pertinent remedies, listening, being professional, etc. – but what the client chooses to do is their choice, even if I find that sad or hard to deal with myself. This does not mean we don¹t care about the client, indeed it¹s perfectly valid to feel sad about client situations, but ultimately, who are we to pass judgement on another’s life? I’d suggest that in this case, contacting the GP had definitely stepped over this boundary.

There is the added issue here of how old does a child be before parents are excluded from the client-practitioner relationship. Not just one of how mature is the child, but there may also be legal considerations. I don¹t think there’s a definitive answer, but there’s a case to be made for treating the child as a mature person and keeping the relationship entirely confidential. It’s the child’s feelings we’re dealing with not the parent’s.

A difficult situation and I’d like to thank the practitioner concerned for sharing this with us.

Chris Lee BFRP, UK

As you say, Chris, a difficult situation, and you make good points. Perhaps the heart of the issue is to do with where we set bounds to our own competence, and of course that must be personal to each practitioner, given the different types of skill that each individual practitioner will bring to any given situation. We’re grateful to all the practitioners who have contributed to this debate. – Ed.

Debido al artículo tan interesante de Lynn Macwhinnie (May 2003 Bulletin), he estado pensando que sería un muy buen aporte a la Formación Profesional Permanente de nuestros practitioners, organizar reuniones quincenales con los trainers del Instituto para realizar supervisión de casos clínicos.

Las haríamos los días Viernes a la tarde, de forma tal que la gente que trabaja en otra actividad pueda acceder a los mismos. Creo que la experiencia y capacitación de los trainers los habilita para realizar esta supervisión con idoneidad. En mi opinión, esto sería mucho más conveniente que supervisar los casos entre nosotros (alumnos y/o practitioners) y hacer esto dentro del marco de nuestra institución le daría además, seriedad y respaldo a la actividad.

Escucho hablar de la supervisión casi desde que estoy en el instituto y siempre me interesó mucho el tema. Creo que llegó el momento de implementarlo como una actividad inherente al instituto. El éxito que hemos tenido con los talleres me ha animado a emprender esta otra tarea.

Miriam Pescara BFRP, BIEP Co-ordinator, Argentina

We think it’s a great idea, Miriam, and we wait to hear how it goes in practice! – Ed.

I found the article on Combination Remedies (July 2003 Bulletin) very interesting as I have come across something similar in a book called Bach Remedies and Other Flower Essences, which also contains a section on the zodiac signs…

I have also come across a person who does allergy testing with the aid of machines and also prescribes Bach, sometimes up to 18 at a time, and says they are based on remedies for different organs. She has sent people to me to have the prescription made up and I have spoken to her on the phone and explained that there are way too many remedies, but I do not say anything to her clients as I do not wish to criticise her. What should I do?

Anne O’Donnell BFRP, Ireland

As Anne says, criticising another professional is never something to be done lightly. We would prefer to approach the other therapist and explain the problem we have dispensing remedies without being involved in the selection process. The other therapist could be given the option of referring clients to us for proper consultations, but if she chose not to do this we would not agree to making up bottles for her. After all, if we believe that the remedies selected are not going to help then we should not be held responsible for giving them. We’d welcome other practitioners’ views on how best to deal with this situation. – Ed.

In reply to the article on Combination Remedies in the last Bulletin, I wanted to tell you that combination remedies are also produced in Italy. Some of them contain about ten remedies. They are prescribed through a long and complicated questionnaire. People are asked questions like ‘did you have a traumatic birth?’, ‘do you like to be alone?’, ‘are you strong willed?’ and so on. The choice of the combination depends on the number of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers given. If you say ‘yes’ to twenty questions, for example, and ‘no’ to ten, then you might be given combination no. 2. If you say ‘yes’ twelve times and ‘no’ eighteen times, you will get no. 8.

What can a BFRP do to stop these false ideas? Well, Dr Bach said that if you cultivate one thing its opposite will disappear. So I give right information about Dr Bach’s work, and sometimes the wrong information disappears quite quickly.

For example, some months ago I said to a herbalist that the combinations he was selling weren’t in Dr Bach’s system. He said that life was faster nowadays, and people need faster solutions to their problems, and that the questionnaires and pre-mixed remedies were effective and quicker. All the things the marketing people had told him when they were selling him the combinations!

I said, ‘Using the remedies correctly is fast, efficacious and very simple. Try it for yourself.’ And a few days later I gave him The Bach Remedies Workbook and said, ‘Learn the true system so you can make an informed choice.’

He has now decided to sell only the 38 remedies and the crisis formula in his shop – so genuine information really did make the pre-mixed remedies disappear.

Elisabetta Simeone BFRP, Italy

Welcome to…

Since the last (July 2003) issue was prepared, 75 new practitioners have joined the register:

  • in Argentina, Susana Cayuela de Uez, Martha Borgese, Margarita Castro Martinez, Miriam Pescara, Norma Cristina Gonzalez, Gabriela Beatriz Osovnikar, Maria Rosa Ballivian and Claudia Hilda Corchero
  • in Australia, Glenda Cass, Tina Wynne, Joanne Horsburgh, Dorothy Coutts-Marshall, Hetty Hensen, Karen Welcome, Sally Bohill and Marilyn Smith;
  • in Bahrain, Deborah Jashanmal;
  • in Belgium, Magda Lippens;
  • in Brazil, Dinamerica Ribeiro Nogueira and Augusta Borges Ruprest;
  • in Denmark, Lisbeth Madsen, Anette Lei, Nina Bendsen and Lena Bjødstrup;
  • in England, Laureen Hemming, Carmen Wirtz, Carol Hilwyn, Pat Russell, Terry Burke, Valerie Beardmore and Linzi Martin;
  • in France, Nina Dutailly-Ringard, Marie Gabella, Mireille Giroud, Bernard Brun-Lafferrere, Marie Morin, Isabelle Guyon and Pierre Magne;
  • in Ireland, Patricia O’Neill O’Flaherty;
  • in Japan, Muneo Abe, Tsumiko Muramatsu, Ando Yasuko, Yuki Shirai, Mika Kohzuki, Atsuko Morisada, Kaoru Murasawa, Shizue Kimura and Sachiko Furukawa;
  • in Northern Ireland, Iris Aiken;
  • in Scotland, Irene McRae;
  • in Spain, Cristina Navarrete Mir, Gemma Monter Sanfiz, Elena Riesco Arias, Maria Teresa Belmonte Galo and Alexandra Landgraf Blanch;
  • in Sweden, Manuel Alfonzo Rodrievez, Angela Brauer and Padma Lavigne;
  • in Switzerland, Trudy Diserens:
  • in the U.S.A., Heidi Becker-Share, Joanne Chapman, Lauren Nappen, Pauline Minkin, Elaine Burke, Audrey Shapiro, Margaret Sumner-Wichmann, Camille Parker, Nancy Jean Mirales, Rita Qaiyum and Lucy Quinto;
  • in Uruguay, Ana Maria Escande Saldaña;
  • in Venezuela, Magdalena Calvo de Sosnowsky, Carolina Quintero de D’Orazio and Dorothy Lamar;
  • and in Wales, Judith Jackson.

There are now 1,376 practitioners on the register.


This archive material has been edited to remove some out-of-date advice and information.