If I compare this now to what we have to do in China, I am amazed that we have achieved so much based upon the little time we have to offer anything in the nature of individual tuition to the many, many students who crowd into our courses. Nowhere am I more aware of this than in our efforts to offer each student a diagnosis of their own element as a foundation on which to build their future practice. In
At first I thought that there was no way we could do this, but quickly realised how disappointed students were if we gave them no indication whatsoever of what their own element might be. This started to have a negative effect on our teaching. We would be helping them learn to diagnose the elements of the patients brought before the class, but then were doing nothing to give them any indication of their own. And anybody who has been reading my blogs will know that I emphasize the importance of a practitioner understanding how their own element may be affecting the way they treat (see my blog of 17 October 2013 How important is it that a five element practitioner is sure of their own element?). So we had to think of a different form of diagnosis to fit the very specific situation we were faced with.
After a few hit-and-miss attempts at devising a way of carrying out diagnoses on as many students as possible in the extremely short time available, we now dedicate a very specific amount of time at each seminar to diagnosing, or at least attempting to diagnose, any new students coming to these seminars, as well as checking on those previously diagnosed to see whether we still agree with our original diagnosis. If we don’t, which of course happens, we are quite open about telling the group that we have changed our minds (or, more specifically, our senses have changed our minds!). At the latest seminar a few weeks ago we diagnosed 45 practitioners in one morning, a feat which required much concentrated attention from Mei, Guy and me.
Although this is a cautionary tale of just how NOT to carry out a TD, I realise that increasingly we have become surprisingly efficient at seeing the elements in this highly pressurized situation. We ask students to sit in groups of five in front of the class, each of them talking a little about anything they want to, and the three of us, Mei, Guy and I, observing them carefully. After all five have spoken, we put our heads together and come up with what we call a provisional diagnosis, one that we tell them we may well change as the seminar progresses and we have more time to look at them. It is interesting how the placing of one person next to the other often reveals very clearly their differences, showing up their elements by comparison with each other. And we have become better and better at seeing these differences, and attributing them to one or other element.
To reinforce our diagnosis, each student is then given their first five element treatment by another participant (all of whom are qualified acupuncturists). This consists of the Aggressive Energy drain (or, if we think this is necessary, the Dragons treatment followed by an AE drain), and finishes with the source points of the element we have diagnosed. And then we continue to observe them carefully in class over the next few days to see whether we feel that our original diagnosis is confirmed, or not, and in particular whether it is corroborated by the effects of treatment.
This is NOT, I repeat NOT, how a five element diagnosis should be carried out, far from it. But “needs must….”, as they say. I would, however, beg all five element practitioners not to skimp on the time they spend on carrying out a TD just because they are reading here what we have to do in