Looking for a relatable, compassionate, pill-free mental/emotional/marital health specialist in Seattle, for a spouse who hates doctors. Any recommendations (or advice in general)? Details inside.
My wife needs a new doctor but carries a lot of baggage from her old ones that kept her heavily medicated since she was a child. They steadily upped the ante over the years, increasing her dosages and escalating to more potent pills when the old ones lost their effectiveness (or produced unwanted side effects, which they all did). My wife has decided she wants off this train, and I support her decision fully.
The complication is that she strongly dislikes and mistrusts doctors for a few reasons, which I'll list shortly. Recently we moved to Seattle and she seized the opportunity to cut ties with her old doctor and cease medication (concerta and effexor) cold turkey. I cautioned her that she needed assistance from a professional but she did it anyway, and after a few rough weeks of withdrawal I think she has purged the drugs from her system.
We're both glad she did it regardless of the method she chose. The pills she was taking were overkill for her naturally occurring symptoms. However, it's clear that without treatment she still needs help staying focused and managing her emotions. If she had her way she'd never set foot in a doctor's office again, but I'm urging her to start over with a blank slate and new diagnoses. After a great deal of negotiation she's agreed to try, but she's not fully cooperative and gave me a "three strikes" condition... if we can't find a good doctor after three tries, she's giving up hope permanently. Here are the reasons she's so averse to them:
- She's ashamed of her issues and the stigma attached to them. Despite my protests, she's afraid she might be labeled "crazy" and would rather avoid the matter than tackle it head-on, even if it makes things worse.
- Every doctor she's seen in the past has prescribed pills for her. We definitely don't want to start that cycle again, but she's not convinced a doctor exists anywhere who won't try it as a first resort.
- In her experience, doctors are always in a hurry and won't take the time to listen or care.
- She's extremely trypanophobic. Though it's probably irrelevant in this case, her fear of getting a shot makes it hard for her to enter any medical center.
Additionally, my wife confided to me she's afraid to discuss her problems in detail with a professional. Turns out I'm the only person in the world who has seen the extent of the issues she has; even her old doctors were never clued in properly. She wants to go through the motions without revealing her vulnerable parts. I know full disclosure with the doctor is vital in order to get an accurate diagnosis, but how do I help my wife open up? I think we need a doctor who is friendly and genuine, but who also asks probing questions and knows how to dig beneath the surface.
I've said "we" quite a bit here because I'm doing my best to take an active role. The issues my wife struggles with are not hers alone; they affect our relationship as well, which is why I added "marital" to my original question. If we're eschewing psychiatric medication in favor of therapy or counseling, I want to be there. I want to learn how to better understand what my wife's going through and how to communicate with her and help her through it. I'm doing everything I can to keep our household peaceful and happy, but I don't know much about mental health personally. If I'm to support her, I need assistance of my own.
Since we've ruled out drugs, what other options are there? We are not really naturopaths (I'm actively opposed to some "alternative" medicines like homeopathy). Your suggestions are welcome, particularly if you have names of good people we can talk to in Seattle.