Straddling paradigms: an interpretive hermeneutic exploration of the experience of midwives practising homeopathy

Duckworth, Jean Ellen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6903-7520 (2015) Straddling paradigms: an interpretive hermeneutic exploration of the experience of midwives practising homeopathy. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This study aimed to explore the experiences of midwives who were also homeopaths as they attempted to straddle the different philosophical and practice paradigms they encountered in each domain. It also explored the implications of their experience on their practice. Over recent decades the National Health Service (NHS) has moved towards a scientific-bureaucratic perspective, in which the emphasis is on the use of evidence-based frameworks. It has been argued that this development has moved the focus in healthcare away from ‘caring’. In parallel, there has been an increase in the demand for complementary and alternative medicines in the United Kingdom (UK), and elsewhere. In responding to this call a number of midwives have taken up training opportunities in massage, aromatherapy, hypnotherapy, acupuncture and homeopathy, amongst others. There are no studies however, that have examined the impact of training as a homeopath on midwives and their practice. After a comprehensive analysis of existing literature, this study used an interpretive hermeneutic framework to explore the experience of midwives who trained as homeopaths. In-depth interviews were conducted with seven midwife homeopaths. The findings were analysed using three different lenses. The first of these conceptualised and explored the midwives narratives as personal and professional metamorphoses, as they changed from midwife to homeopath or midwife homeopath. Secondly, the data were framed using a Heideggerian lens, which illuminated a process of transformation into being authentic practitioners. This demonstrates how authenticity allowed the participants to (re) engage with, and further value the therapeutic relationship as a fundamental element of their clinical practice. The final lens explored the impact engendered of being authentic on the therapeutic relationship that developed between midwife homeopath and the women in their care. The conclusion was drawn that the therapeutic relationship developed by an authentic practitioner via a homeopathic consultation is transferable to other healthcare practitioners, and offers a challenge to practice based in notions of scientism and bureaucracy. Further exploration of these phenomenon’s could help to deliver on the drive to deliver compassionate personalised care across the NHS as a whole.

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