Schick Shadel, Seattle, WA

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Schick Shadel Philosophy

Schick Shadel Hospital’s evidence-based substance abuse treatment program has helped thousands of men and women recover from addiction and regain their lives. Located in a quiet, peaceful environment just minutes from SeaTac Airport in Seattle, Schick Shadel Hospital serves communities in and around the state of Washington, including Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, California, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Canada.

Areas of Specialization

Facility Highlights

Continuing Care

Counter Conditioning Treatment

Effective Alternative Approaches

Testimonials

Meet the Staff

Ralph L. Elkins Research Director

Photo of Ralph L. Elkins Dr. Elkins received undergraduate degrees in science and literature and a master’s degree in experimental psychology from Auburn University. He graduated with distinction from the University of Georgia, with a Ph.D. in biopsychology and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Xi Honor Societies.

Paula Fisher Director of Counseling

Photo of Paula Fisher Paula earned an undergraduate degree, a counseling certificate and a master’s of business administration from the University of Washington. A graduate of the Schick Shadel Hospital program, Paula joined the team as a counselor and has more than twenty years of clinical experience in the field of substance abuse.

Elaine Oksendahl Director of HR/RM/PI

Photo of Elaine Oksendahl Elaine joined Schick Shadel Hospital as administrative assistant to the CEO and chief of staff. During her tenure, she has held several positions including performance improvement coordinator, JCAHO/DOL survey coordinator, privacy officer/compliance officer and associate administrator.

Editorial Review
Jude Reitman


Rehabs.com Reviews Contributor

The Schick Shadel Hospital in Seattle proper utilizes a controversial non 12-step treatment model that incorporates powerful behavior modification techniques with individual counseling, minimal sedation and relaxation therapies. The core of the program is Medical Counter Conditioning, classified as either Emetic (chemical intervention), generally used for alcohol counter conditioning of Faradic, administered for patients when chemical counter conditioning is not advised. Both approaches expose the patient to the addictive substance, while also subjecting them to increasing discomfort, the assumption being that the patient will then associate the addictive substance with unpleasant physical reactions. This medically-based aversion therapy progresses over 10 days, during which time the client is administered monitored levels of medication and alcohol, in combinations aimed at producing a repellant physical aversion to the addictive substance.

Aversion therapy is not for the faint at heart. The practice was described on CitySearch by alumni That1guy as “A Clockwork Orange…but with more vomit.” Alum TRickR reported to CitySearch “Not for the weak of heart,” and a spouse of an alum anonymously told Rehabs.com that, while the program worked for her husband, “Aversion therapy isn't for everyone - choose the treatment regimen carefully.”

The rigorous physical manifestations were questioned mainly by family and other loved ones. A friend of an alum reported anonymously to Rehabs.com that “It was extremely effective for my friend and the approach that worked best for her,” but the effectiveness “seemed short term.” A parent similarly told Rehabs.com that his daughter relapsed into drinking and suicide attempts within the month. He said, “Did not help my daughter and I disagree with the forced aversion therapy approach.” Though one spouse J.S. did write into Rehabs.com to praise the program, attributing her husband’s recovery to his inclusion in such a supportive environment. After failing two 12-step programs, both times returning home “angry and mean,” he returned from Schick Shadel “happy, full of life and nice to be around.” He is now 8 years sober.

The highest praise for the program come from the alumni themselves, who awarded uniformly high marks to the method, staff involvement and outcome. The most successful clients were those who had previously failed at traditional 12-step programs and were ready to dive into an aversion approach. H.S. told Rehabs.com that he began the program with some trepidation. “While I did check myself I wanted desperately to leave for several days,” but on completion he was “clean and sober.”

One anonymous blogger on the hospital's website recounted in detail his 10 days of aversion treatment and the increasingly arduous physical effects. “I felt sick from the medicine, and alcohol only added to the agony,” though eventually the program worked for him. Trish, one of his readers, responded that “after years of struggling with drinking, I was able to turn down a drink. Now whenever I have that knee jerk response to drink, I remember…feeling SO nauseous and telling myself I was never going to let drinking rule my life again.”

Similarly, Amanda P., who described herself on Yelp as a “hard drinker unable to stop,” said the treatment destroyed her desire to drink. “(They) made it so I don't have craving or an urge to drink.” She praised staff as “incredible,” and observed that “Patients are friendly and wanting to get sober unlike other rehabs.” And perhaps the most telling testimonials come from two alums who attended in the 1980s, and who both credit their 25+ years’ sobriety to the program. As J.J.C. told Rehabs.com, “It's worked for me for 27 years.”

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