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Is the dentist your friend? (was: NLP or CBT)

Re: NLP or CBT

I don't think we fundamentally disagree on the issues raised here - a lot of it seems to be down to semantics. The sentence "The dentist is not supposed to be your friend" could be easily (mis)interpreted to mean "The dentist is an enemy and is not on your side" (as per definition 3 of the word friend).

When I originally read that statement, it reminded me of an article which Keith Hayes for this website back in 2004 where he referred to his patients as his friends - and I must admit, it brought a smile to my face at the time :). I don't particularly like the word "patient" (mainly because of its latin origins - the original meaning being "undergo, suffer, bear"), but haven't come across a good replacement as of yet (both client and customer seem to emphasise an monetary transaction rather than the care dimension).

Yes and no... I would think that most psychologists learn a great deal from their clients/patients, so the relationship especially for a novice psychologist would often be quite reciprocal. I remember reading Dave Carbonell's book on panic attacks and he described how he developed an interest in this topic when he met a patient (whom he was supposed to assess I think) and felt totally out of his depth, so he asked this person to explain to him and teach him about panic attacks. And although on the surface, the focus of the interest is still on the patient and their issues, the knowledge gained in this example actually benefited the psychologist much more than the patient (of course, future clients/patients may have also benefited!).
I agree that the dentist (or the care provider generally speaking) can learn from the treatment, can feel reworded mentally and materially, can enjoy the treatment as well.
You know guys, I learned a lot from this thread, I must say that you treated me fairly, intellectually speaking. I should have been wiser and careful with the wording... So a I learned a lot from this experience.
In addition, the need to explain and defend my position really helped me getting deeper into this concept and I thank you all for this.
I hope this concept will be used by dentists- for ethical reasons, and by dental phobic patients, specially those who find the authoritative figure of the dentist difficult.
Re: NLP or CBT

Well, thank you every one for you contributions to my question. I got lost in some areas, but the jist of it came through loud and clear. I'm glad there was alot of clever people on this forum to answer the difficult questions.

It seems I opened a 'can of worms' and I have learnt so much from it. If others can benefit from the interest my question created then it's all positive.

What a wonderful diverse forum this is :grouphug:
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Re: NLP or CBT

Hi De, I was going to apologise for derailing your thread but it sounds as if you weren't too offended by it :) - thanks for stimulating a great conversation!!

@Daniel: many thanks you, too, for listening and taking the discussion in stride (even while in the firing line, lol ;D).

Might move this thread into the discussion section and make it a sticky post, if that's ok by you, De!
Re: NLP or CBT

Hello Letsconnect.

If you feel it would be helpful then its fine by me. What does it mean to have be a 'sticky post'. Also what does all the stars indicate by the thread.

Kind regards :thumbsup:
Re: NLP or CBT

"Sticky post" just means that it sticks at the top of a section (e.g. here in "Your Dentistry Questions Answered", an example would be "Dentists on this board" - which reminds me, that's in need of updating!). The stars mean that somebody has rated the thread (I just had to rate this one 5 stars given all the interesting comments, lol). Anyone can rate a thread (if you're in a thread and look at the top right, there's a "Rating" thingy there which you can click on to rate).
Hi everyone.

I realize I saw this thread rather late in the game, but if I may post my opinion as well.

I understand the confusion that dentists and patients might have when drawing a line between professional courtesy and friendship. I work in the medical field myself and if I were to see a patient of mine outside of the office, say for instance in a store, I could say 'hi, how are you' but am not allowed to make a reference to infer that they were my patient.

In saying that, one of my problems with dentists in the past is that they were too 'business like' and too 'authoritative'. I've had dentists who were rushed, overly busy and thus came off as uncaring or not empathetic. This might be partly a personality thing, but there are dentists out there that genuinely care for their patients' physical and mental comfort.

My phobia has gotten so bad that I have to find a dentist who is friendly, caring, gentle, and someone that I can view as a friend. If I view them as an authority figure or just as a doctor/dentist, I'd be terrified all the time. I just started seeing a new dentist (long story) and in order to help myself cope with my fear and anxiety I'm viewing him as 'a friendly dentist'. Someone that I hope to build a trusting relationship with. If I can't learn to trust him, I'll never be comfortable with him treating me.

The good thing is that we're both on the same page and both making the effort. I gave him the letter explaining my fears and anxiety, because I get way too tongue tied at any dental office. I also gave him the questionnaire that's available from this site. He read it all over and took everything into consideration. Then he called me at home to tell me thank you for giving him that information. He's going to use the information to help me be comfortable and hopefully overcome my fear and anxiety at some point.

I can't explain it, but I've only met him once and talked to him on the phone once and I already feel like he's someone I can learn to trust. Certain people have that gift to just help people feel at ease. I've not been able to say that before. My first instinct with dentists for year has been to not trust. Now I found someone that I want to trust, based on instinct.

I just think that it's a fine line. It depends on the individual dentist and patient. Some people are comfortable with a more intimate working relationship that feels like a friendship, where others are not. I think with anxious patients though, friendliness and trust is key.


Hi ssocea,

Thank you for your post. I was just reading through the thread as I do every now and then, and spotted yours.

Finding the right dentist is a battle in itself. Although, in all honesty, I believe that expressing my fears to the wrong dentist has had far reaching affects on my oral health. It took one dentist to mess up my head.

I did eventually find an NHS dentist that listened to me. I didn't feel I could talk about my fear face to face during appointments, so I would email him. He was always good enough to reply. I felt heard and my fears acknowledged. Although, I continued to have many trust issues about the profession.

Unfortunatley this dentist is now leaving general practice, there will be a new dentist and I can only hope he/she will be as understanding.

His manner and attitude made me a partner in all discisions. He wasn't authoriative or business like, and he displayed a degree of sincerity that brought me back for check-ups even though proposed treatments were challenging for both of us. I regulary checked xrays and sought information and reasurance from him, which helped alliviate some of the doubt and avoid bad things happening. I don't think i'll find another dentist like him.

There is a fine line for me between trust and distrust in the dental profession and I 'hover' between both.:)

Good luck
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