The program’s foundation is the clear and grounded diagnosis of our patients. Most of our school training involves learning techniques, herbs, and formulas while not emphasizing our ability to see and synthesize the principal diagnosis that can unlock the knots of disharmony. We learn to gather information from our patients through various methods – touching, asking, seeing, and hearing. But we are not given a method to process this information to lead to precise and effective treatments. When our diagnosis is clear and well-articulated, determining the correct treatment follows seamlessly. Proper diagnosis is also our best way to ensure safety in our work. When we are confident that our diagnosis is correct, we can easily stand behind stronger and more focused methods, herbs and formulas. For this reason, during the first weekends of the Graduate Mentorship Program, the focus is on diagnostic skills.
Diagnose with Confidence
To diagnose confidently, one must begin with a proper understanding of physiology. In the Graduate Mentorship Program, we learn physiology described by the organization of the medical classic, the Shang Han Lun. This physiology is not merely of the human body; it is the physiology of life and nature itself. It resonates with students because it echos our intuitive sense that this is how the body, the universe, and life work. Because it makes sense, it is easy to learn and forms a solid foundation for conducting a meaningful intake.
The intake is when we gather the information we need as practitioners. When we have a good understanding of physiology, our intake aims to see clearly and with certainty where the physiological function has become pathological. In the Graduate Mentorship Program, we will learn and practice the art of the intake, asking questions in ways you have not been previously taught to get to the correct diagnosis.
The diagnostic skills we learn involve grounding ourselves in what we know with certainty from our intake. While relaxing our habitual impulses to figure everything out, we experience the wonderful feeling of having the diagnosis reveal itself to us. We learn to identify and avoid common habits that throw us off track. We often use our minds to create a convincing story about the diagnosis, yet it is entirely wrong. How do we know when we are off track? This is what we will learn and practice. We will also learn a systematic method for integrating abdominal diagnosis, pulse, body type, and symptom presentation. Articulating a diagnosis, whether in terms of Zang Fu and disease factors (such as Yin deficiency, Qi stagnation, etc.) or in terms of Shang Han Lun key symptom presentations, it is essential to match the diagnosis to an appropriate herbal formula. In addition to articulating the diagnosis, we will learn to “see” the pattern and the key aspect to address to find the most optimal formula. We want to feel the accuracy of our diagnosis in our gut and to be able to explain easily what it is and how we came to it.
After developing these skills and beginning to work them into our clinical practices during the first three modules, we bring these skills to various areas of medicine. We will focus on applying classic formulas from Shang Han Lun and Jin Gui Yao Lüe. This text and the formulas describe the complete cycle of Yang dynamics, which is the dynamic movement of the life force itself. Understanding the structure of these classical texts is essential for a Chinese herbalist as this structure is a map of the physiology of human beings and the cosmos at large. Once we grasp this notion, the formulas make sense on an entirely different and much more functional level. So much of Chinese medicine falls into place once these dynamics are understood.
Deepening Our Understanding
After deepening our understanding of the spirit and emotional disorders, we move into and study women’s health. This section is particularly in-depth and covers menstrual illnesses of all kinds, vaginal and breast issues, and fertility. From fertility, we move to pregnancy, labor, and postpartum issues.
Other areas we bring our newfound diagnostic expertise to are colds, flu, respiratory disorders, digestive disorders, pain disorders, metabolic, autoimmune issues, and cancer support. You will become very skilled at treating these conditions.
All students are invited to have an individual mentoring session with Sharon over Skype or Zoom during the program.
The White Pine Graduate Mentorship Program is a comprehensive course using classical East Asian Medicine. Your instructor, Sharon Weizenbaum, has found that returning to the classical principles profoundly increases clinical effectiveness. Based on the physiology as described so beautifully in the Huangdi Neijing and the Shang Han Za Bing Lun, students will have an opportunity to learn how to diagnose and skillfully apply most of the formulas in the Shang Han Lun and Jin Gui Yao Lüe. Sharon teaches in a way that reconnects practitioners to the principles of nature that drew you to East Asian Medicine in the first place and make seemingly obscure principles accessible and relevant. Please download the syllabus for more details about the content.
The full program is broken down into eight topical topical ‘courses.’ Each course is broken down into six modules. Modules are added on Friday every two weeks and remain available for the entire program. Each module is a learning unit that contains the following:
- A three-hour meet live online and recorded class on the current topic
- A dedicated discussion forum for the current topic. You are invited to ask questions and share insight and experience throughout the program. Sharon responds to each post.
- Readings, audio, or video related to the current topic
- Readings include articles from a variety of authors, as well as ebooks compiled and translated by Sharon Weizenbaum. Over 15 ebooks are given through the program, totaling over 2000 pages of well-organized material that will serve as a clinical manual in years to come.
- A facilitate learning quiz designed to support learning through engagement
- A live online Q & A to answer questions and discuss the current topic.
Additional Opportunities and Support
- Each student is assigned a TA who will be working with you on diagnosis and formula choice skill development through the program
- Your TA will also help you transform a case from your practice using the diagnostic process outlined in the program. Sharon will review this case and your process in a way that will tremendously help you hone your skills.
- Each student has the opportunity to have a private mentoring session with Sharon
- Each student has access to our student library, which is full of additional resources.
PDF handouts created from the PowerPoint presentation will be uploaded in the handout section on the menu at the top of the online classroom streaming page a day before the start of class. Given that PowerPoint slides are not ideal for compiling notes, a handout summary is also given for taking notes and creating notebooks of the material.
- To give students solid confidence in intake and diagnostic skills related to Chinese herbal medicine.
- To help students become fluent in the Chinese Materia Medica and formulary.
- To aid students in rediscovering enthusiasm, confidence, and joy in their studies and practice of Chinese medicine.
- To train students to be skillful in developing clear, insightful, and grounded treatment plans and case management skills.
- To teach advanced studies in clinical pathology, not available in ground-level programs. There is an in-depth study in gynecology, including fertility, pregnancy, labor, and postpartum health, digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, oncology, psychology, and rheumatology.
- To create a community of high-level herbal practitioners who continue to be resources for each other beyond the time frame of the course through online communication and sharing.
- Distributing well-organized and systematic downloadable materials to study in preparation for each class, including step-by-step exercises for skill development.
- Distributing handouts for each class that will become a valuable clinical manual.
- Attending or viewing the lectures on topics in pathology based on the instructor’s clinical experience.
- Participating in online discussion forums and sharing resources.
- Participating in private mentorship sessions with Sharon.