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Student Testimonials

berkeley institute of homeopathy

“I studied with Iris Ratowsky for 4 years, initially completing the three year certificate program with Berkeley Institute of Homeopathy and then a one year round table supervision program for graduates. Iris strikes a fine balance between rigorous and detailed academic study and exploring/developing the more elusive qualities of being a healer.

By the time I graduated I had a solid foundation of materia medica knowledge, an advanced understanding of homeopathic theory and philosophy, a carefully honed set of analytical tools for analyzing a case, and a clear path for helping my clients. I appreciated the most, Iris’ dedication to our wholeness as people, students and practitioners.

Everything she did was focused on building us up, be it with knowledge, confidence, or good food. Iris wants every one of her students to be successful and sustainable on all levels. Health is not just for your clients, it’s for you too.

Studying with Iris and BIH was an enriching experience. I highly recommend it. Oh, and I passed the dreaded CHC exam on first writing.”


“I have so much appreciation for the intelligence, depth of understanding, and decades of experience that Iris brings to her teaching. She cares deeply about homeopathy, and radiates such warmth and integrity. I recommend her school wholeheartedly.”

—Ro Loughran
psychotherapist and graduate

“Some are good homeopaths, some are good teachers… Iris is both! She can
easily relate to the beginner’s mind as well as the advanced student’s. Her
thinking is critical and organized. I thank her everyday in my practice, for
the case analysis skills she taught us.

“She has a unique, animated and humorous way of teaching remedies, her classes
are always a lot of fun! Her lively demonstrations make the information hard
to forget.

“In her classes, she brings in the intellect, intuition, hard work and
relaxation all together. I am most appreciative of her emphasis on the
homeopath’s self awareness and healing.”


“Iris brings many years of experience and teaching practice into her classroom. She easily tailors learning to the different interests, melatonin håndkøb and perspectives of different students.

Class participation and discussion are encouraged, in addition to traditional lectures. You learn tools to work with clients, and case management techniques.

I got a solid foundation that covered many practical remedies and topics required for a successful practice. What makes this school unique is the emphasis on developing yourself as a practitioner. This is the place to go to develop your love of homeopathy!”


Berkeley Institute of Homeopathy.

Books & Supplies

berkeley institute of homeopathy

Book List: First Year Foundation Course

Materia Medica with Repertory
William Boericke, M.D. (less expensive Indian version is fine)

Homeopathy, An Introduction for Skeptics and Beginners
Richard Grossinger

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (Wenda Brewster O’Reilly ed.)

Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy
James Tyler Kent, M.D.

Thomas Kruzel, N.D.

Impossible Cure
Amy Lansky

Desktop Guide
Roger Morrison, M.D.

Desktop Companion to Physical Pathology
Roger Morrison, M.D.

Homeopathic Clinical Repertory
Robin Murphy, N.D.

The Principles and Art of Cure by Homeopathy
Herbert A. Roberts, M.D.

Prisma, The Arcana of Materia Medica Illuminated
Franx Vermeulen

Matthew Wood
(Originally published as The Magical Staff, an older version is fine)

Book List: Second Year


Indications of Miasm
Harimohon Choudhury

Chronic Diseases
Samuel Hahnemann

The Foundation of the Chronic Miasms in the Practice of Homeopathy
Henny Heudens-Mast

Homeopathic Treatment of Children
Paul Herscu, N.D.

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor
Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D.

Nature’s Materia Medica
Robin Murphy, N.D.

The Vaccine Guide
Randal Neustaedter, OMD

Monera, Kingdom Bacteria & Viruses, Vol. 1
Frans Vermeulen

Synoptic Materia Medica II
Frans Vermeulen (be sure you get Vol II, not I, which has been supplanted by Prisma)

Strongly Recommended if you can find them: (Try Amazon, ABE Books)

Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints
Robert H. Seller, M.D.

Understanding Disease, A Health Practitioner’s Handbook
John Ball, M.D.

Book List: Third Year

Encyclopedia of Healing Foods and Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine,  Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno

Ritalin Free Kids, Judith Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman

Mollusks, Reptiles, (a two volume set), Insight Into Plants (3 volume set),  and  Structure (a two volume set), Rajan Sankaran

Homeopathy and the Elements, Homeopathy and Minerals, Jan Scholten

Birds, Homeopathic Remedies from the Avian Realm, Jonathan Shore, Judy Schreibman, Anneke Hogeland

Fungi, Monera,  (two separate books), Franz Vermeulen

The Period Table in Homeopathy, Ulrich Welte

Clinical Supervision

berkeley institute of homeopathy
Students will take a minimum of 5 cases on their own outside the clinic and analyze and prescribe for them with the support and supervision of a CHC certified supervisor. They will continue to manage the care of these clients with the supervisor throughout the year.

These clients will also become part of the student’s practice as they move into greater levels of expertise and experience. The possibility is envisioned that we may offer a fourth year which will be comprised of a clinic day and 1 day of class or study group for CHC preparation so that students will continue to build their practices with support and supervision, so that by graduation they will have their own budding practice and be prepared to sit for the CHC exam.

Supervision is a valuable source of support and encouragement at all levels of practice and is helpful to all practitioners at all levels. It is recommended as a continued source of learning and supportive care in our roles as healers throughout the years we practice. It helps to awaken us to issues in the healing client/practitioner dynamic we may not have seen on our own, to new possibilities for practice management and modalities, and a good supervisory relationship provides an ongoing safe place to bring our concerns, struggles and triumphs and helps us awaken our gifts and find our courage to be in the truth and do the work.

The philosophy underlying this sort of supervision is not the expert model as has been the case in many homeopathic training programs, but rather flows from the understanding that a close mentoring relationship with a skilled homeopath in a collaborative supervision model provides support, care and safety for the supervisee to discover and explore their difficulties, skills and gifts in order to awaken and bring their whole selves to the work and facilitate both their own and their clients’ healing and wholeness. It is encouraged that this sort of supportive relationship be nurtured throughout the life of the healer, either in one on one supervision or in peer support groups.

The Clinic

berkeley institute of homeopathy

BIH clinics take place on the Saturday of the 3rd year class weekend.  To see the dates, please check Course Dates and Fees on this website. They will be held at 1654 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703-1455.

The fee for new clients is $85, payable 1 month in advance of the appointment to hold the appointment, and followup appointments are $50 which usually covers the remedy. Checks, made payable to køb melatonin should be sent to Berkeley Institute of Homeopathy at 1654 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703-1455.  Certain remedies may have to be ordered specially and these may require an additional $10 fee. One week’s notice is required to change an initial consultation, or the fee must be forfeited.  72 hours notice is required to cancel a follow up appointment or the fee will be forfeited.

The cases are taken by the director of the Institute Iris Hagen Ratowsky Commins, or by Jo Daly and the case taking is respectfully observed by advanced students of the Institute.  All participants in the clinic will participate in the case analysis and case management discussions throughout the year as the cases are followed. Anything said by any client in the clinic is completely confidential and will not be discussed outside of the clinic setting.

To schedule an appointment or refer someone to be scheduled, please contact the Clinic Coordinator Tamara Parnay at tparnay @ gmail.com or (707) 360 8038.

To schedule an appointment for Jo Daly’s clinic, please contact Saleena Gupte at saleenagupte @ gmail.com.


berkeley institute of homeopathy

Requirements for Admission

First Year Admission:
You must have graduated from high school (or international equivalent) and have completed two years of university or college study. You must be at least 21 years of age, have fluency in written and spoken English, have a keen desire to study homeopathy and have adequate resources and time to devote to a rigorous 3 year course.*

A large part of the course is the home study required to complete the assignments and study the material. This requires time, discipline and a devotion to learning. It is important that you have ascertained within yourself that conditions in your life are such that you can devote the time necessary to enjoy and succeed in the course. If your life is such that you may have difficulties with the attendance or study time requirements, it advisable to wait until such time that you have the necessary conditions in place which would enable you to complete the course.

Second Year Admission:
Successful completion of year one above (or equivalent from another program);
and successful completion of a recognized Anatomy & Physiology course;
and completion of a First Aid and CPR class.

The Anatomy & Physiology course can be taken at a community college, accupuncture or other health training program. Certain correspondence courses are acceptable. Many community groups offer First Aid and CPR classes. Many students take these courses over the summer between first and second year.

Third Year Admission:
Successful completion of the above requirements;
and successful completion of a pathology course.

This can be taken at a community college, acupuncture or other health training program. Certain correspondence courses are acceptable. Many students take this course over the summer between second and third year.

Application Deadline

We are currently accepting applications for the third year and post graduate courses.

* If these requirements have not been met for some reason, you may apply for a waiver of these requirements under special circumstances. Please submit with your application a letter of up to 2 pages detailing the circumstances and personal qualities you possess which would support a waiver of these requirements with your application.


berkeley institute of homeopathy

Iris Hagen Ratowsky Commins, CCH, is the Director and Head Teacher of Berkeley Institute of Homeopathy. She did her undergraduate and graduate work at U.C.Berkeley, and studied homeopathy independently for 6 years before beginning a formal training program in homeopathy at Pacific Academy of Homeopathic Medicine, from which she graduated in 1994.

She has practiced formally since that year, and was certified by both the North American Society of Homeopaths and the Council for Homeopathic Certification. She was the Registrar at NASH for many years, where she was responsible for certifying applicants. Helping to set the agenda for NASH, and as a board member participated in the ongoing work with the Council for Homeopathic Education to work with the homeopathic community to set educational standards for the training of homeopaths.

She also served on the board of the Council for Homeopathic Certification where she continued her work in education and certification. She has taught homeopathy in the U.S. and Japan.

She was one of the two core teachers at the Pacific Academy of Homeopathy from 1997 to 2008. And has started Berkeley Institute of Homeopathy’s training program in which she unites her two keen and passionate interests.

The education of homeopaths and her work in helping others develop and find their gifts as whole human beings both for their own healing and development and for the healing of the larger community.

Jo Daly

Jo Daly, CCH, qualified at the School of Homeopathy, Devon UK in 1984 and subsequently studied with many teachers in UK, US and India. She moved to the US in 1989 where she was certified by the Council for Homeopathic Certification and has since been an active practitioner and teacher in California, Massachusetts and New York.

Former Dean of Education at the School of Homeopathy, New York, Jo’s clear and insightful teaching style makes her a popular teacher and seminar presenter. Her work with schools also includes faculty training, curriculum development, clinical studies and supervision. For the last decade Jo has been integrating and practicing the Sensation system of Dr. Rajan Sankaran with very beneficial results. Jo has a bi-coastal practice in New York City and the Bay Area.

Other instructors

Other instructors who have taught at BIH are: Dr. Loretta Butehorn, CCH, from Teleosis School of Homeopathy, Robyn Hope-Scherr, a well known practitioner and teacher of craniosacral therapy in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sarah Woodward, a well-known practitioner and teacher of craniosacral therapy and Buddhism.

Course Dates and Fees

berkeley institute of homeopathy
For the academic year 2016 – 2017 we offer a third year course.  The dates of these courses are listed below. 

We we also continue our very popular postgraduate supervision and clinic course taught by Jo Daly in the Autumn of 2014. This course is open to graduates of homeopathic schools and sovepiller håndkøb and is comprised of one day of live clinic.  Students must register to attend all clinics and are responsible for paying the fees for the year for all clinic days. The dates for the upcoming 2014 – 2015 clinic are listed below. Please sign up early as space is limited and many current students will continue. The hours for all days are 9:30 to 5:00. Please arrive by 9:15 at the latest so that you are ready to begin at 9:30 promptly.

Post Graduate Clinic 2015 – 2016: October 17  November 7   January 2 February 6 March 5 April 2 May 28 June 18

BIH Dates for the Academic Year 2015-2016:

Third Year: 2015 September 18-20, October 23-25, November 20-22, December 18-20, 2016 January 22-24, February 19-21, March 18-20, April 22-24, May 20-22, June 24-26  



Three Year Foundation Courses: The tuition for all three years of the foundation course is $4,600 per year if the payment is made in advance at the start of the year. There are two other options for spreading the payments over the year which slightly increase the cost. A commitment to join the class is for the year and refunds cannot be given after the first weekend. Post Graduate Group: The tuition for the postgraduate course is $1250 for all the clinic days of the 10 month program Upon acceptance into the program the student commitment is for the year and must be paid even if a day is missed. It is important to attend all the weekends to get the full benefit of the clinic and/or supervision, and to form a stable working group for the clinic and supervision. For those wishing to pay monthly, the monthly installment is $125 for a full tuition of $1250.

The Training Program

berkeley institute of homeopathy

The homeopathic training program at Berkeley Institute of Homeopathy is a two-fold holistic path towards becoming a healer skilled in the art and science of homeopathic healing. It is a unique homeopathic school in its commitment to the whole development and training of those wishing to become homeopathic practitioners.

The homeopathic training is a classically based program aimed at developing the skills and knowledge necessary to become an effective homeopathic practitioner.

This includes: 1) a solid grounding in homeopathic philosophy, 2) training in repertorization skills to translate the client’s words and state into repertory language necessary to find homeopathic medicines that will be helpful in moving the client to greater health, 3) a deep understanding of homeopathic medicine pictures in terms of their symptom picture and their energetic essence, including personal experiences for the student with these remedies in a variety of ways to awaken their own understanding of the material’s healing nature, 4) extensive training in case taking, and methods of following and encouraging natural pathways and rhythms of expression of the client, and 5) a rigorous training in critical thinking methods as they relate to case analysis, including traditional Hahnemannian methods and some newer methodologies of organizing, sorting and understanding complex cases.

The parallel second path of training is a healing journey which is designed to help develop greater self awareness and freedom in the student on all levels of the being. This path supports the journey each healer must make in order to be as fully present and accepting of the self in order that s/he can be fully present with clients and hold the space for the fullest healing that is possible for them.

This parallel path of healing and awakening is an essential part of this program’s training to enable the healer to sustain the work of homeopathic healing while finding joy and sustenance in it, and without becoming harmed, burdened or burned out by it. It is an investment the teachers and students make in the student’s future so that their training can be used over a lifetime for growth, wholeness and spirit nourishment for themselves and their clients.

This part of the training flows from an understanding that healing is a calling that requires the healer to be committed to opening to truth and healing for both ourselves and for the clients who seek our care.

Learning process

This healing path of the program will integrate contemplative and awareness practices into the learning process. They provide the tools for quieting the mind so that as practitioners we will be able to be open and clear about what is presenting itself both in our own lives and in the lives of those who come to us for homeopathic healing.

They will provide the foundation for true understanding which is grounded in experience, both for self discovery and healing and also for the investigation of the energetic nature of health, disease and homeopathic medicines. This greater self awareness and freedom can then provide access to the wellspring of compassion and knowledge from which a healthy intention to heal will be nourished and flow naturally.

Students will also be exposed to various body healing methods both for their own work if they desire, and also to have a knowledge base of these practices so that they can be used as referring adjunctive therapies for clients if appropriate.

Contemplative techniques

Students already practicing mindfulness and contemplative techniques are encouraged to bring these into their work. There is no particular advocacy for any one contemplative practice over another in this program.

There is simply an opportunity for training in some of them and a request that these be practiced sincerely by the student to learn how to quiet and train the mind as part of the work of healing of self and helping to facilitate healing in others. The students I have taught who have participated in this work have found it of enormous benefit in differing ways both in their own lives and as practitioners. The specific practices are chosen by the student.

Philosophy of Teaching in the Program

The philosophy of teaching which underpins this training is that teachers and students meet as equals with compassion and respect for each other’s spirits and knowledge. The exchange of experience and knowledge in teaching and learning is both part of a transmission of information for practical training, but also creates a model for future healing encounters where client and practitioner meet as equals. This model of mutual honoring of experience and knowledge serves as a template for compassionate and respectful encounters with all living beings in our life and our work as healers.

Teaching and learning experiences will include lectures, discussions, the sharing of individual experiences of study and insights of our work together in small and large groups, provings of remedies, modeling and practicing exercises, quizzes, essays and participation in clinic.

Curriculum, Location and Dates

For the academic year 2015 – 2016  we will offer  a continuing third year program, and a post graduate program. To check the dates of these classes, please look in Course Dates and Fees.

First Year Foundation Course

Classes: 10 2-day weekends over the academic year, which include 2 days of class time and 2 hours of study group each month for a total of 150 hours. Starting in January of their first year, students are invited to join the clinic of the second year class which occurs on the Saturday of the second year course. Attending this clinic will add valuable experience and add 78 more clinical hours.

In the first year homeopathic training we concentrate on laying a foundation of homeopathic philosophy and principles and the study of homeopathic remedies as they relate to acute illness. One day of class will concentrate on presenting a particular acute topic (such as gastrointestinal illnesses) including a review of the anatomy & physiology of the affected area, a group of clinical pictures associated with this topic and the remedies known to be helpful for them.

Practice with taking acute cases, analyzing and solving them will be part of the group and class work. The second day of class will focus on philosophy, presenting broader materia medica pictures constitutional pictures of selected homeopathic remedies, and contemplative practices and discussions designed to support the self discovery and development of the student. We will also do some meditative provings.

We will cover the structure and techniques and practice in use of the Repertory, differentiating between acute and chronic disease, introduction to miasmatic theory, the nature of health, disease and cure, and homeopathic history.

The student healing program begins with instruction in basic meditation and readings and exploration of self discovery and reflection avenues. A variety of adjunct healing modalities will be described and introduced to enable to student to choose for himself or herself which may facilitate further balancing and healing. This part of the program is an integral part of the study program. Students have said that it has been life changing and opening to have participated in this, and has helped them clarify their reasons for becoming a homeopath and helped awaken them to new energies and talents in their life and in their practices.

Second Year Program

Classes: 10 3-day weekends over the academic year, which include 2 days of class time and 1 day of clinic for a total of 195 hours.

In the second year we build on the practical and philosophical foundation we have laid in the first year to move on to taking and analyzing chronic and constitutional cases.

We study the remedy reactions and their interpretations, potency and repetition of remedies, case management, and more in depth and skillful repertory work. We will continue our study of miasmatic theory and the use of nosodes, obstacles to cure, and refine different methods of case analysis. Towards the end of the year different analysis and perception tools such as essence, themes, and the sensation method will be introduced.

Students will begin sitting in on the student clinic on the three day weekend. They will begin by observing live cases being taken by experienced homeopaths and begin to see in action the theory and remedies they have been studying. Students will participate in case analysis discussions, and follow the cases throughout the year.

Third Year Program

Classes: 10 3-day weekends over the academic year, which include 2 days of class time and 1 day of clinic for a total of 195 hours.

This year we will continue an in-depth study of philosophy, miasms, Materia Medica study, ongoing long term and complex case management. We will work on case analyses of paper cases and/or video or live cases in class and clinic.

Topics for Therapeutics will vary depending on what is presenting in the clinic and the local health patterns and have included:

Children’s health issues including asthma, eczema, sleeping problems, autistic spectrum disorders, hyperactive children, behavioural problems in children, abuse traumas, and genetic disorders.
Women’s health issues in practice including transitional phases for women such as menopause, mental health issues, pregnancy, fertility issues, fibroids.

Men’s issues in practice: enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues as they present in men. Post war syndromes.

Case taking modeling and practice, techniques and spirit/mind presence training.
Interpersonal Issues in client practitioner relationships. Ethics for homeopaths and good business practices.

Mindfulness and contemplative practices as they relate to remedy learning and understanding, client perception, and self awareness in practice.

Auto immune and rheumatological diseases. Neurological diseases. Substance Abuse, PTSD, Addiction and Detox Program Support. Mental Illness.

What is Homeopathy?

berkeley institute of homeopathy
Homeopathy is a scientific system of healing based on a principle described by writers as early as Hippocrates which observes that a substance can often cure symptoms which are similar to symptoms which it can produce. A simple example might be a case of arthritis which is hot, red and edematous at the joints with a stinging sort of pain. These symptoms are very similar to a bee sting, and might be treated and helped by a homeopathic dose of Apis (bee venom). The doses of homeopathic remedies are so minute that there are no harmful side effects, and yet they are strong enough to present a healing stimulus to the body so that it can begin a return to a healthy, balanced state.


Over the past 35 years or so, homeopathy has enjoyed a resurgence and renewed popularity as people seek non toxic solutions to their health problems, but it has been an effective system of healing in Europe for more than 200 years. Now it is widely employed in Europe and India alongside conventional medicine. Its principles and application techniques were developed by a German medical doctor named Samuel Hahnemann in the late 18th century. He discovered the principles of dilution and potentization substances as he sought to develop treatment methods for his patients that would not have the drastic side effects of toxic substances used in medicine at that time.

Homeopathic remedies work by gently stimulating the body’s own healing processes. They are made from many different substances, and many of the same medicines have been safely and effectively in use for two centuries.

In evaluating a client, a homeopathic practitioner does not see a skin disorder separately from menstrual difficulties, and depression as something else again, all to be treated separately. The whole person is considered in searching for one remedy which will stimulate the person’s own healing response and bring their system into balance. It is a safe and effective system of healing which gently awakens the client’s own healing abilities.