International education and training in Anthroposophic Medicine
International Postgraduate Medical Training (IPMT) is organised by the Medical Section at the Goetheanum in Switzerland in cooperation with regional preparatory groups. This is a five-year advanced training course for doctors, medical students and others working in the field of healthcare, with one week of advanced training per year and the possibility of final certification. IPMT was founded in 2002 and is now held in 18 countries on all five continents with approximately 1,200 participants worldwide every year.
The morning of the one week-long advanced training modules has a strong practical character, while the afternoon is devoted to technical work in workshops and in the evening questions relating to medical ethics are discussed. The main focus is always on the training of skills: it should be possible to translate that which has been learned directly into the daily practice of the doctor or therapist. In this way the participants can incorporate the added value of the advanced training course into their work from the very first week. An integral part is therefore also patient and case discussions.
Within the framework of this further training it is possible for a licensed physician to acquire a certificate as an Anthroposophic Doctor after five years. For this, not only five weeks of training are required, but also at least two years of working with a mentor, the performance of two case studies and a final colloquium. For the period between the training weeks, the students are encouraged and taught to consolidate and further refine what they have learned on site in the form of self-study or in small regional groups. In the years since its inception, IPMT has made a major contribution towards the spread and internationalisation of Anthroposophic Medicine (AM). In most cases the certification of one or more AM doctors is the prerequisite for the establishment of an AM Medical Society in the country concerned. With an increase in the number of AM-certified doctors, the ability to push through AM-specific concerns at the political level also grows. For the individual physician this certification represents his or her inclusion in the global AM Medical Profession. As a result, he or she experiences him/herself as part of a global movement. He or she is allowed to use the title of "Anthroposophic Doctor" publicly, which is particularly relevant for patients who are searching for Anthroposophic Medicine.
What phases has the project already reached?
IPMT owes its existence to a redesign of the English-speaking medical seminar at the Lukas Clinic in Arlesheim in Switzerland. Numerous training centres had been created by the year 2000 in various countries, and due to the falling numbers of participants the question arose in Arlesheim as to the design that an international seminar should have today. The evaluation showed a clear, consistent picture: the further training modules should not last for more than one week, should be consistently designed for the training of diagnostic and therapeutic skills and be as patient and practice-related as possible. The training should take place in the countries in the national language and be independently organised locally.
The first IPMT week was finally held in 2002 in Łódź in Poland and was attended by 170 participants instead of the expected 50. In 2003, IPMT weeks were organised in four countries at the request of new physician groups in Russia, Ukraine and Finland, and in nine countries again just one year later. In 2015 the IPMT is being held in 18 countries: Sweden, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, China, India, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia, the USA, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.
What are the concrete objectives of the project?
- The advanced training of licensed physicians as certified Anthroposophic Doctors in countries without their own anthroposophic medical training
- The further training of pharmaceutical chemists, therapists, specialists in orthopaedagogy and nurses with a certified qualification
- The recognition and representation of the interests of AM locally and the approval of AM medications in the doctor's own country with the help of organisational structures (such as professional organisations) during the establishment process with a view to good international networking
- Cooperation with universities and clinics for the greater embedding of AM in the academic and clinical field
- Cooperation with training initiatives in other countries in order to make optimum use of the existing skills through networking and in this way to promote the independence of the training activities in the respective country.
School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach/Switzerland
The Medical Section is one of eleven specialist sections of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach/Switzerland. The task of this School is research in the spiritual field, the proposal and addressing of practical questions and further training in anthroposophically oriented areas of work. In addition to the General Anthroposophical Section, in which key questions of anthroposophy are explored, there are ten specialist sections. Their task is the perception of pioneering developments within the professional context, their spiritual penetration into professional fields and the spiritual consolidation of practical life. Specifically, the work of the Medical Section comprises five areas of activity:
- Education and training within the context of International Postgraduate Medical Training (IPMT), curative eurythmy training at the Goetheanum, as well as other seminar offers
- The dissemination, exchange and consolidation of Anthroposophic Medicine and its treatment forms by means of lectures, publications, conferences and specialist seminars
- Promotion of Anthroposophic Medicine initiatives in research and practice
- The international coordination of professional fields and areas of activity within the network of the Anthroposophical Medicine movement (IKAM)
- A commitment to therapeutic freedom, a diversity of methods and the promotion of health in education, agriculture, social science, politics and other fields
What are the funds of the MAHLE FOUNDATION specifically used for?
The Medical Section essentially receives its funds for the support of IPMT from foundations, e.g. from the MAHLE FOUNDATION since 2006. These funds are used to cover the travel costs and the fees of the external lecturers, as well as the administrative costs in Dornach for project planning and execution, the placement of and support for mentors, programme creation and dispatch, correspondence, study materials etc.
For the next five years the following development steps are envisaged:
- Intensification of the cooperation of IPMT with anthroposophic clinics and thereby proposals for the creation of new AM departments in the clinical field
- Establishment of "research days" around the time of an IPMT event, where research results from AM are presented (in order to develop closer contacts with the universities in the IPMT countries)
- Improvement in the skills of certified AM doctors who are authorised to teach by means of training for trainers, thereby promoting the independence of the training activities in each country. Creation of new teaching materials and translations of existing materials into English, Spanish and Russian, as well as their publication
- Increased integration of new media as supportive factors in the advanced training concept