Tuesday, January 22, 2008

finding the right doctor

When was the last time you had to find a new doctor? Have you been with the same doctor for many years? Or have you had to switch doctors many times due to moving cities or switching health care coverage? In our day in age, less and less people are able to establish lasting and trusting relationships with their health care providers. Many people don't have a doctor to go to with questions regarding their health. Some because they can't afford health coverage. Others because they haven't, for some reason or another, sought out a doctor in years. That's not to say they feel great all the time. Rather, they are reluctant to take their problems to a stranger who they, frankly, are not quite sure will help or very much care.

In speaking with people, I have found that those who have been seeing the same doctor for a number of years are much more likely to go in for a consultation when something doesn't feel right. They've established a relationship of trust, and they feel they have someone they can turn to. Those who do not have an established physician, on the other hand, tend to hold off on seeking help, partly out of fear, partly because they don't know where to begin in their quest for a trustworthy provider.

Starting a new relationship is never easy. Be it with an associate or colleague, a new teacher, a step-parent, housekeeper, mechanic, or a physician. The initial stages are always awkward, until we learn to know and trust each other. For some relationships, we don't have a choice as to the people entering our lives. For others, we get to choose. If we don't like our mechanic, we find another. The same is true for our health care providers. I believe that finding the right health care provider is essential!

The best way to find a good doctor is to get referrals from people you trust. Sometimes, this isn't possible, say if you've just moved to a new area and don't know anyone there yet. Or maybe none of your friends have the same insurance coverage, or none of the doctors they've recommended are accepting new patients. If you have to pick someone randomly off a list of approved providers, you could call them and ask about their health philosophy. Find out a little bit about what kind of a person they are. Some physicians now have personal websites that allow you to find out a little bit about them before you commit to entrusting them with your health. As you are looking over doctors' names and bios, see if you can tap into your intuition. Does one name resonate with you more than another? What's the feeling in your gut when you consider one person over another? See if you can tune out your rational thoughts for a moment and connect with the subtle feeling deep inside of you. Are you feeling agitated and tense as you are focusing on the person's name? Or are you experiencing a sense of calm and ease? If it's the former, keep looking. If it's the latter, give that person and try.

Dr. Judith Orloff has written a wonderful book called
Intuitive Healing , in which, among other things, she gives suggestions on using your intuition to find the right healer for you. It doesn't have to be an MD. In fact, depending on your condition, you might benefit more from seeking the care of a holistic practitioner, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, a Chiropractor, or a Licensed Acupuncturist. Or you may require a team of health care providers, including an MD, and maybe a holistic counsellor, a Reiki practitioner, or a Licensed Hypnotherapist. Whatever provider you end up choosing, your intuition can help guide you to her or him.