By Cat Saunders
Whatever I could say here seems woefully inadequate to convey the deep gratitude I feel for my longtime personal physician, Steve Hall, M.D.
Whenever I express my enthusiasm to Steve for his compassionate care and top-notch medical expertise, he says he’s “just doing his job,” but I know better. I’ve seen countless doctors in a life full of nonstop health challenges, so I can tell you firsthand that Steve is not just doing his job. He’s doing his passion, and it shows.
Steve walked into my life—literally—in 1995, when we both attended an evening seminar that was hosted at the clinic where he worked. I was milling around with people after the talk, when a tall, nice-looking man came over to me, smiled, and extended his hand in greeting.
The man introduced himself as Steve Hall, saying he was a doctor there at the clinic, and that he’d been reading my articles for years. I was struck by his strong handshake, his gentle manner, and the clarity of his eyes. We chatted a few minutes and parted ways amicably.
As it happened, I was actually in the market for a new doctor, having been disappointed for the nth time by the inadequate and often disrespectful care I’d been receiving from various providers. I wrote Steve a letter and explained that I was looking for a holistic, multidisciplinary physician with a broad range of expertise, who would not be intimidated by a complicated and difficult-to-troubleshoot case (namely, me). I also told himthat I wanted a doctor who would work in partnership with me, without any power-tripping. I needed a doctor who would respect my own knowing over and above anyone else’s, including his.
Steve called me back personally (I found out later he handles his own phone calls himself, which is another thing I love about him). To make a long story short, I became his patient and I’ve been spoiled by his care ever since.
When I first started seeing Steve, I would often be moved to tears after leaving his office, because his kindness and his deep honoring of me as a person touched old wounds of abuse that cried out for healing. Steve’s compassionate respect pushed up layers of grief and dissolved old pain into tears of gratitude.
Steve is a unique combination of “country doc,” highly credentialed internist, and energy/body worker. His roots as a country doctor include early practice in the backwoods of Maine. This experience is still evident in his earthy, “down home” style—the kind that instantly puts you at ease.
Steve came to medicine from a background in chemistry, so his understanding of pharmaceuticals, herbs, food, and nutritional supplements is exquisitely honed beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in a doctor. He’s also a gifted, Upledger-trained cranio-sacral practitioner. During body work, Steve supports my process wherever it’s at—without any agenda—and with this support, I can find my next step naturally.
In the years since Steve and I first began working together, he has consistently encouraged me to trust my body and trust my own knowing, and he has always believed in me even when my own faith faltered. During more than one period of adversity, he helped me find ways—both conventional and complementary—to keep going in the face of all odds. In short, he has saved my life multiple times and he has taught me that “holistic” means using whatever kind of medicine works, in the right way at the right time, without judgment.
Steve relates to me straight-across as an equal. He treats my fears and concerns with respect and he never shames me. He even reciprocates my self-disclosures with personal stories of his own at my request, so I don’t feel overexposed in my vulnerability. He’s also deeply spiritual and has a great sense of humor, too!
Steve teaches workshops and lectures internationally. In Washington State, he and his family reside on a farm in the foothills of the North Cascades, and he commutes to Issaquah to see patients. To read more about Steve’s work or to contact him, please call him at (425) 557-7706 or visit his website at www.stevenmhallmd.com. You might also enjoy my interview with Steve called “Growing Wings.”
Cat Saunders, Ph.D., is a counselor in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is also the author of Dr. Cat’s Helping Handbook: A Compassionate Guide for Being Human (available through Amazon). Contact Cat by emailing her or by calling 206-329-0125 (24-hour voicemail).