Case Studies from Dr. Marina Angeli

Dr. Marina Angeli is a psychiatrist in private practice in Athens, Greece. Her psychotherapeutic background is in Family Therapy - the Systemic Approach. She is a graduate of the Flower Essence Society Practitioner Training and Certification Program.

In 1985 she was introduced to homeopathy, and was amazed to see the tremendously important therapeutic effect this energy healing method was able to have on the personality, while treating the physical body at the same time. Dr. Angeli became interested in alternative therapies and also became aware of the unique healing potential of the various forms of spiritual practices.

By 1988 she had discovered Bach Flower Therapy, and found in this healing method an ideal means for use with psychotherapy and personal transformation processes. Since then she has not ceased working and experimenting with a wide range of flower essences, both in her personal and professional practice. Besides classical psychotherapy, she often combines work with essences with other modalities such as homeopathy and hypnosis, and makes use of the research findings regarding the psychosomatic profile of illnesses.

According to Dr. Angeli, there are many practitioners using flower essences in Greece, but they are "mostly from the non-medical field of various sorts of healing, such as aromatherapists, reflexologists and such. There are many good homeopaths and acupuncturists, but not many physicians who use flower essences as part of their work yet--and definitely no psychologists and no social workers."

"I consider flower and other essences as the greatest gift given to humanity to aid in the work of soul treatment and spiritual development," Dr. Angeli says. "Never before has the treatment of emotional pain, personality improvement and transformation been attainable to such an extent and so easily available to everyone. Especially in fields involving working with people, such as teachers, therapists etc, flower essences are a real treasure--which I hope will soon become acknowledged and utilized to the benefit of many."

As an example, Dr. Angeli cited the case of "SG," a 48-year-old high school teacher, who was having difficulty assuming the leading role with her students in class. SG's students were showing extreme disrespect towards her, and were totally lacking discipline in the classroom.

By matching SG's symptoms with the description of the flower essence from the Flower Essence Repertory, Dr. Angeli chose Larkspur. "I instructed SG to take 7 drops from a 30ml (1 oz) stock bottle four times a day, for a month. Then she continued for one more month to stabilize the effect. No other treatment was used."

SG knew she was going to take a flower essence which was meant to help her with the classroom difficulties, but nothing more specific. "It was interesting how the therapy resulted with the desire to express her creative potential--which was apparently inhibited by her misconceptions of being an authority figure in the class," Dr. Angeli noted.

A month after taking Larkspur, SG reported she felt "stronger and more firm at school. I suddenly felt that I, too, wanted to lead--not in order to dominate and to suppress anybody, but in order to give the gifts that I have. I wanted to offer what exists within me as potential, and to make this potential useful for others."

At the same time SG discovered that her inability to fulfill her class duties was a result of her subconscious rejection of assuming a leading role. "She used to view this role as something which inevitably dominates and suppresses others," Dr. Angeli said, "confusing the use of authority with abuse."

SG also reported that after taking Larkspur she and her school colleagues started planning a dinner. "To my surprise, they chose me to 'take them out', to organize the evening! I don't understand why they chose me..."

Dr. Angeli has seen the benefits of Larkspur in many other clients who were called to undertake leading positions in their work. For example, there is the case of "RA," a 43-year-old healer.

"I wanted to report this case, because of the clarity with which RA described the inner experience with this beautiful essence," Dr. Angeli said. "RA is considered a good healer, and her work was gaining increasing respect in both alternative and allopathic circles. Consequently, she started to get invitations to teach classes in some healing centres which offered workshops on various topics."

RA responded as long as they did not look "very official." But then came an invitation from a healing school led by a well known physician, affiliated with university faculties in Italy, and RA felt "uneasy." In RA's perception, the offer appeared to be "too much, too great a responsibility, too high a goal."

"I can't say I don't think I can't do it" RA confided, "but it is just the image I've always had about such things...something I very much respect.. On one hand I am glad, because I feel my work is being recognized, and I love the idea of becoming so effectively utilized. But on the other hand, it just makes me feel upset, almost dizzy!"

RA told Dr. Angeli she would probably not allow herself to refuse the offer, but wondered if she could find enough energy to tolerate and overcome the feelings of uneasiness, dizziness and feeling upset.

"I was discovering the Larkspur properties at the time," Dr. Angeli said, "so I suggested RA try it. I administered the Larkspur the same way I had with SG--about 7 drops of the essence from the stock bottle, at least four times a day, placed on the tongue or dilluted in water or beverage, if prederred."

Only a few days later RA reported: "It feels like magic, and the whole concept around this issue in me has changed. I suddenly saw it as just a matter of certain things to be done, and nothing more than that. I asked myself: 'Is it something you are able to undertake?' And the answer was a natural 'yes, this is what I have been doing already, although in a different context.'

Suddenly the whole issue of teaching in that school looked simple! To be exact, it became demystified and appeared as it really was. It was my mind that was making it look 'too special' and consequently 'almost unapproachable.' Before taking the Larkspur, I perceived this job as being 'way up there' with myself 'down here.' I felt I was being called to make the climb 'up there,' which was exciting and frightening at the same time. I became the victim of my own self-aggrandizement. There was a fascination in looking at the job as something so special--but the fascination would last only for a minute. Then it became a trap, for I did not find myself equal to it!

Larkspur took the element of 'WOW' away, allowing me to look at the matter at hand in a practical way. Now I just see a task in front of me and I simply consider if I can do it and how to go about it. My mind concentrates on the work itself, not on the 'role' I was thinking I would have to play, for it is not who I am."

Another illustrative case concerning Larkspur is that of "Mrs. N," age 53. Mrs. N is a very dynamic, ambitious and competent woman, married and mother of two sons in their late 20s. She has been working all her life--first as a public servant. After taking an early retirement she became an assistant in family psychotherapy groups, after years of participation in psychotherapeutic and educational programs.

"A year ago Mrs. N came seeking flower essence help for her mother," Dr. Angeli recalled. "Soon she became interested in flower essences for herself. We began individual sessions in which we talked about her life issues and chose essences accordingly, so that a process unfolded. At the time Mrs. N was participating in the work of a famous woman family therapist in Athens; Mrs. N was a personal friend and assistant of hers."

According to Dr. Angeli, the more Mrs. N seemed to progress in her ability to undertake responsibilities in this job, the more she found herself in trouble. She found herself quarrelling with the therapist, who complained that Mrs. N was trying to "impose her own guidelines in the work." At the same time, Mrs. N was furious with the therapist, believing she was "bossy, trying to rule everybody and everything, and not allowing her to have a 'free hand' at work."

"During our sessions together, it finally became obvious what was actually happening," Dr. Angeli said. "Mrs. N, although very much wanting to express herself and 'do her own thing' at work, nevertheless feared assuming a leadership role, and tried to 'hide' behind the other woman. When this happened, Mrs. N was disatisfied with the result. She believed herself unjustly treated, and felt that her work was being 'stolen' by the therapist."

Mrs. N acknowledged her anger for the therapist was due to her own reluctance to project herself and her work in an independent way. "She intimated to me that she had been doing this her whole life--always competent and hard working, but never bringing things to a final accomplishment. Mrs. N always stopped one step short of the goal. She was The Eternal Student. Based on this picture, Larkspur essence was chosen."

Results appeared in about two weeks, although Mrs. N continued to take the esssence for 2-3 months to stabilize. No other modalities were used in this case.

When Mrs. N came a month later she reported to Dr. Angeli: "I did very well. I suddenly decided to take those exams for becoming a Yoga teacher (she had not mentioned that issue to me before). In the past I had refused to take those exams because exams make me very anxious!!

But now I discovered the idea was not producing anxiety in me. I said 'let's go to finish it'. I was having fun with these exams. I did it for myself. I had been feeling the exams were something too 'high up' for me. Now I relaxed, but at the same time I was feeling a bit strange, thinking that I had been in that situation (at the level of the final exams) already for 3 years now."

In another session Mrs. N reported she was also doing much better with her husband, with whom she also had been in conflict. She believed he was trying to keep her at home and prevent her professional progress. "He is now supporting me and encouraging me to be active! I realize now that I had been projecting a lot onto him."

Dr. Angeli said Mrs. N accepted work with a medical doctor who works with bioenergy--and with whom she had established a pattern similar to the one while working with the family therapist. Mrs. N again was a client and an assistant at the same time, but distancing herself whenever she was invited to cooperate on an equal basis, as a specialized professional.

"I realized I was projecting a lot onto him as well, him being an authority figure," Mrs. N admitted. "We started collaborating. I decided to work on a doctorate. Every day is a revelation to me. I feel that only now I am growing up."

Mrs. N has a private practice now, is very busy and accomplishing her goals.

Dr. Angeli shared this compelling case involving Mullein:

"I have known ‘DR', now age 46, since the end of 1996, when she first came to me with heavy neurotic symptoms," Dr. Angeli remembered. "For the 3 1/2 years that followed, she has taken flower essences regularly in the course of psychotherapy, and has seen positive changes in her life in many areas. DR is one of the people I know who is most enthusiastic about flower essences, and she often says how grateful she feels to the people who work on discovering them."

Recently, DR felt she finally wanted to get married. As her circle of friends did not seem big enough to allow her possibilities to get to know other people, she was going to attempt to find a husband with the aid of a match-making office. Dr. Angeli welcomed the idea and assured DR she would assist the process.

"DR has been what one would call a person of spiritual interests," Dr. Angeli said. "For many years she has been spending most of her time--and money--doing seminars and courses on self-development. She goes to church and confesses to a priest regularly."

DR was angry with her mother for having been "rude and unfair to her, as well as to the people of their community in the island where she comes from," in the past. The mother had "trapped" the father into marriage when she was young, and had always treated her daughter in a way which she felt was "humiliating and harmful to her dignity."

According to Dr. Angeli, DR is sensitive and perceptive of people's qualities. "You can imagine my surprise then, when I learned her requirements for the future husband--she did not seem interested in what kind of a person he might be, but was focused entirely on finding someone who would pay for some of her expenses. When I expressed surprise about this, DR stated: ‘Men are no use doc! I don't need communication. For communication I have my seminars and my friends. But if he pays for the electricity, food, and the rest of my everyday life expenses, I can save all my salary to pay off my apartment, and even have a little left for my personal interests and maybe also a little comfort.'

I did not know what to say!

I tried to discuss the issue with her but she would not listen. Soon Mullein came to my mind, but I hesitated before deciding to put it in the 30ml bottle. I had used this essence once before in the case of a psychopath with a remarkable result. But that client had been a psychopath--a person consciously cheating and exploiting others; someone for whom the inability to function honestly was the diagnosed illness. DR's case was one of a person with quite a high a level of awareness, generally very honest and sincere."

This case posed crucial questions regarding essence selection for Dr. Angeli. Did DR require help for this issue or was she supposed to work it out via her consciousness alone? Dr. Angeli did not know how to approach this encapsulated fragment of DR's personality, which had suddenly surfaced. Was this really an indication for Mullein? Is lack of dignity in one's choices a matter Mullein could address in this case?

At this time DR was also taking White Chestnut, Impatiens, Cherry Plum and Borage, for other issues. She had been taking these essences for several weeks before Mullein was added to the combination.

"I had DR take 7 drops orally 4 times a day, diluted in a 30ml bottle preserved in brandy," Dr. Angeli reported. "No other modalities were used, not even discussion or any kind of confrontation. As I said, it was impossible to even touch this whole issue before the use of Mullein. Also, although DR always asks information about the essences she takes in order to assist the process by her efforts and to watch the changes, this time I had felt uncomfortable to speak about Mullein to her, for the fear of hurting her or make her feel embarrassed."

When a few days after starting the Mullein essence, she started reporting her insights and conclusions, it again took me a while to believe my ears : "During these days, I decided that I must solve my problem (her present financial difficulties) by myself, and only after that, to look for a man(!). I said myself, (she burst out in and angry voice as she was speaking to herself): "...Try to live with some dignity at last, some inner dignity...". She went on with this amazing statement: "I will sell the apartment to pay off my debts, while at the same time I will be living in peace."

DR mentioned that an old, close friend of hers told her, "For all the years that I've known you, this is the first time I hear you speaking honestly about yourself."

One week later: "For the first time in my life I feel accepting my hidden negativity. I realized that in my life I met very good men, who loved me! But, the negative presumptions that I had inside of me I was projecting onto them! It was impossible then to get happy. These days, I had an insight: although I always believed that I've had no luck in my life, this was not so. Men did not treat me so bad, it was me who behaved crude to them. I saw them as money, as pieces of paper money. Besides, I was domineering in my behavior towards them. Who would have tolerated such a behavior?"

Over the last years, she has had many insights about what in her poor self image and feelings of inadequacy had caused difficulties in her relationships with men, but this was the first time she admitted that she, too, had responsibility in terms of a bad behavior towards them.

interviewed by Thomas Dillon

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