Autism is a response to a catastrophic threat – Mahler 1952:

This is an article I produced for teaching a while ago but thought it would be useful to post.

Autism is a response to a catastrophic threat – Mahler 1952:

Bruno Bettelheim in “The empty Fortress – Infantile Autism and the birth of the Self” explores Autism from a psychoanalytical viewpoint and gives us, as homeopaths, a very useful and unprejudiced insight. There are several comments taken from his book attached to the end of this lecture. He is clear that Autism is a response to a catastrophic threat.

It is important to grasp this conclusion in the light of how vaccination fits in. Vaccination happens at a time when the development of unconditional love and trust are being established between mother and child. The vaccines are an assault both in terms of pain and chemical pollution.

It is also factual that the remedies made from these vaccines, particularly DPT, have been shown to have a spread of symptoms that are useful in treating autism. It is not, however, scientific or homeopathic to conclude that autism is therefore a product of vaccination. SOME autism can be traced to this point not all.

It is most useful to understand that DPT and MMR are useful in treatment as homeopathic remedies. Also that Autism is a state that has reacted to an unprecedented assault. That could be a lot of things. Equally vaccines should be approached with caution and evaluated for their benefits and uses. That is for another lecture.

What do we see in the client with autism?

Firstly we see a digestive problem and if this is not attended to there is little chance of progress.

Secondly we see the Self suppressed. This may show to a homeopath in a number of ways:

  1. as strange presentation of common remedies (e.g. cold SULP thirsty PULS etc.)
  2. extreme behavior
  3. overwhelming pictures of what would normally be thought of as acute remedies (BELL, STRAM, ACON)
  4. or just the inability to see any remedy clearly or consistantly

Thirdly we see remedy pictures of the state of autism (DPT HELIUM MMR)

So my basic approach, if it is not possible to see a single clear remedy, is to prescribe on all three of these levels and to repeat the remedies each week:

Week Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Week 1 DPT 200 or MMR or Helium etc. Most indicated Rx Associated bowel nosode
Week 2 DPT 200 or MMR or Helium etc. Most indicated Rx Associated bowel nosode
Week 3 DPT 200 or MMR or Helium etc. Most indicated Rx Associated bowel nosode
Week 4 DPT 200 or MMR or Helium etc. Most indicated Rx Associated bowel nosode

So if the fundamental or constitutional Rx was LYCOPDIUM then the associated bowel nosode would be MORGAN GAERTNER.

This framework, however, is somewhat fluid and will vary with the individual case. For instance: In a case where there is a lot of birth trauma, may be caesarian, high levels of fear and lack of response to pain, then day two may be STRAMONIUM, then if LYCOPDIUM was the underlying Rx then day 3 could be LYCOPDIUM and a day four remedy of MORGAN GAERTNER. Here also the potency might change and the STRAMONIUM could be 10M and the LYC 1M.

Equally if one aspect of the case is sensitivity and lack of response then the days may be spaced out.

Another variation may be to supplement this with days 4-7 giving THYMUS GLAND 30 once a day.


This seems to be where the lesion exists, and often at a psychic level. So an understanding of THYMUS GLAND is essential and a grasp of why we would prescribe remedies in “threes” e.g.


AYAHUASCA, THYMUS GLAND and THUYA. The “three” remedies can be given as a prescription over 3 days or even 24 hours or may show as a “progress” over several months e.g. for a while THYMUS GLAND 30 is given as support then a move to THUJA being included in prescription with a point where TUBERCULNUM is given as a nosode on its own.

The gut and diet

Many cases may come to you where there has already been good work done on the bowel, often through the DAN protocol or even just with Gluten free, dairy free organic diet. I still tend to give the bowel nosode as many of the non-bowel symptoms are found else where in the case. Equally if the family is not already operating a diet conscious regime then slowly encourage them to do so. Autism is a sensitive condition and so dynamics in the child will be reflected in the careers. It is sensitive politically as well as empathetically and sensorialy, so be careful what you say.

This empathy

Autism devours the family so expect changes to occur where they occur and patterns of resolution beyond the child are relevant to the whole case. One case of a child doing really well had a residual regurgitation issue. The parents opted for a surgical resolution, it took 15 months to heal and then subsequently the mother had acute colon ulceration near the rectum. This was the cycle of resolution. Another, adult case, resolved itself with the father having a cancer of the upper back (stabbed in the back) after his daughter moved dramatically on treatment by establishing a relationship and getting married.

Autism is not a disease

Autism is not a disease but a safe place for the child, a retreat, a cave. They are doing the best that they can. The non-responsiveness of the state means that it is often hard to see the direct homeopathic result and equally the hyper activity and repetitive actions often distract from seeing the underlying picture. I often describe homeopathy’s effect as squeezing a toothpaste tube. Normal developmental drive is to communicate, to reach out, to develop a relationship with the outside world, so the first reaction may be a big improvement at school and even a negative impact at home as the child establishes their ground. Also there is a higher recorded incidence of cases amongst high achiever parents, so sometimes some of the home practices may seem intense, or even unhelpful and the parents themselves are often not reflective by nature.

Fear and confusion are our enemies and it is important to take time and get some distance to observe.


The following are the references and sources I used for this article, along with my clinical observations. I share them here partly to give credit to these authors but also to encourage others to research. I hope it is helpful – Len Marlow

Interview with Amy Lansky

Bruno Bettelheim in “The Empty Fortress – Infantile Autism and the birth of the Self”

The autistic child’s withdrawal goes much further. Most of them have not only given up goal directed actions and communications of feelings, but also prediction. Beyond this empty stage they divide themselves into at least two groups: one that simply never move out toward, or withdraw even further from the world, and another group that combines withdrawal with the creation of a private world, that parallels our own. … These children must arrange objects in a certain ritualistic way. Unless they do, something terrible will happen. p 54

How essential is this evolution – from sensible ordering of events, to prediction, to goal-directed action p 50

Thus external intrusion must seem vastly more dangerous to these children than anything that comes from within. p 60

The possibility exists, then, that these children are much more sensitive to pain of all kinds than are normal children, and hence have built up unusually strong defenses against it. p 61

He must make himself insensitive to what comes from inside his own psyche p 74

Rodrigue 1955 I think the intensity of the autistic child’s anxiety is similar to that to which imminent death gives rise.

Suicide alone seems a more extreme position, but it is not. Because suicide involves a goal directed action that the autistic child seems even less capable of performing than the suicidal person. p 90

Kanner’s work dates the naming of Autism to his observations in 1943 but Haslam describes the case of such a child admitted to Bethlehem asylum in 1799 p 386

Notes on diet

Casein (from Latin caseus, “cheese”) is the name for a family of related phosphoproteins (αS1, αS2, β, κ). These proteins are commonly found in mammalian milk, making up 80% of the proteins in cow milk and between 20% and 45% of the proteins in human milk.[1] Casein has a wide variety of uses, from being a major component of cheese, to use as a food additive, to a binder for safety matches.[2] As a food source, casein supplies amino acids; carbohydrates; and two inorganic elements, calcium and phosphorus.[3]

Although research has shown high rates of use of complementary and alternative therapies for children with autism, including gluten and/or casein exclusion diets, as of 2008 there is a lack of evidence for the efficacy of these diets.[15] A 2006 review of seven studies indicated that, although all reported benefits of exclusion diets in reducing autism symptoms, all suffered design flaws, and there was not enough evidence overall to justify recommending exclusion diets to patients.[16]

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts, and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing, or thickening agent, often as “dextrin”. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease,[1] the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis,[2] and wheat allergy.[1]. A gluten-free diet might also exclude oats.

A note on QUORN

Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding Quorn products and their suitability for a gluten-free diet.
Please be assured that Marlow Foods Ltd. is dedicated to providing great tasting, safe and nutritious food for all. However, we do not currently make foods specifically aimed at specialist diets, but we try to make our products appeal to as many consumers as possible (vegetarians, meat reducers, ‘healthy’
eaters, those watching their weight, etc.), and therefore we do not design any of our products to cater to the needs of any particular sector of the market.
Firstly, according to information supplied by our ingredient suppliers, the following Quorn products do not contain added gluten:
Quorn Pieces (chilled and frozen)
Quorn Plain Fillets (chilled and frozen)
Quorn Chicken Style Roast (frozen)
Quorn Deli Chicken Style (chilled)
Quorn Deli Wafer Thin Chicken Style (chilled)
Quorn Deli Roast Chicken Style (chilled)
Quorn Deli Ham Style (chilled)
Quorn Deli Smokey Ham Style (chilled)
Quorn Deli Bacon Style (chilled)
Quorn bacon/ rashers (frozen)
Fajita strips
However, in the light of recent amends to European Labelling Legislation regarding the indication of the presence of allergens in food products, (this includes 12 food ingredients), Marlow Foods have completed a thorough assessment of our manufacturing process.

As a result of this assessment, we have made the decision that where we handle gluten-containing products in our factories, we will not recommend these products as suitable for a gluten-free diet, even though gluten is not included in the recipe. Although we have taken all the necessary precautions to segregate the gluten-containing products from our non-gluten containing products, we cannot absolutely make this guarantee, and therefore we do not recommend any of our products for those suffering from an intolerance to gluten. We are labeling those Quorn products which do not contain added gluten to reflect this change.

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