Visualisation: does it help you?

How well does visualisation work for you?

  • Works like a charm every time!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It helps me sometimes, it depends.

    Votes: 2 14.3%
  • It absolutely does not work for me.

    Votes: 8 57.1%
  • Not sure, never tried it.

    Votes: 4 28.6%

  • Total voters
    14
kitkat

kitkat

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#1
A lot of people say they close their eyes and imagine being somewhere else like lying on the beach during dental treatment. I have tried this so many times and I absolutely cannot do it for longer than 2 seconds before my thoughts revert back to "DENTIST!!!". So I'm curious to find out how many people can actually do this or how many people this method has actually worked for. I'm generally pretty skilled at day dreaming and escaping reality as I do it for the better part of my day most days which makes me think this strategy would suit me well but I absolutely cannot escape the present moment no matter how much I'd like to during dental treatment. Part of the problem may be I cannot bring myself to shut my eyes long enough to escape anywhere but I daydream all the time with my eyes open so that can't be the case entirely. Maybe it's a control thing and I'm just not willing to relinquish enough of my control to enter another state of awareness.
 
carole

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#2
I don't know about anyone else but for me the keeping the eyes closed is so I don't see anything. I don't escape reality or go to another place. I am very much in the dentist room with the dentist. It is just that if I see any tool or anything coming towards me including the dentists hands I will move out of the way. As long as they are gentle and careful in my mouth I can handle it. My last dentist was so gentle he never knocked my lip or anything, I don't know how he managed to do it but he was so light fingered and no sudden quick movements I was still a bit nervous but not paniced.
 
Carys

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#3
MMMMmmmm, well, I am interested in what is going on....I am 'fortunate' enough to have some very specific triggers and phobias, rather than outright dental phobia/fear. I say fortunate, because this means that bar a short period of time during dental procedures, when I probably have a panic attack and get very ropey indeed, I have no fear of instruments, work being done or anything much else. So, generally I keep myself mentally occupied by having a nosey at what is going on, saving up questions in my head to ask once I can talk again (lol). I like to have a lot of information, and would rather know what is heading in my direction. So, no, I don't do it.
 
vicki

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#4
As a hypnotherapist, I am very familiar with visualisation; both using it with clients and also by myself. However, visualisation during a dental appointment does not work for me at all. I quite often use visualisation to help me relax in the run-up to appointments, particularly the night before when I usually can't sleep and when I spend the night pacing up and down wearing holes in the carpet! :p

During appointments, I'm usually so busy trying not to panic and also being hyper alert about what's coming next, that I really don't have the level of concentration required for any self hypnosis or visualisation. Like Carole, I spend much of my appointments with my eyes shut, mainly so that it reduces the chances of seeing anything that reminds me of the past and which might cause a flashback. Because of this, it's even more important that I know what's happening and that the dentist tells me what's coming next and what it'll feel like. Because I can't concentrate very well due to nerves, I think if I were to try visualising something else, I'd be worried that I'd miss something important!
 
kitkat

kitkat

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#5
As a hypnotherapist, I am very familiar with visualisation; both using it with clients and also by myself. However, visualisation during a dental appointment does not work for me at all. I quite often use visualisation to help me relax in the run-up to appointments, particularly the night before when I usually can't sleep and when I spend the night pacing up and down wearing holes in the carpet! :p

During appointments, I'm usually so busy trying not to panic and also being hyper alert about what's coming next, that I really don't have the level of concentration required for any self hypnosis or visualisation. Like Carole, I spend much of my appointments with my eyes shut, mainly so that it reduces the chances of seeing anything that reminds me of the past and which might cause a flashback. Because of this, it's even more important that I know what's happening and that the dentist tells me what's coming next and what it'll feel like. Because I can't concentrate very well due to nerves, I think if I were to try visualising something else, I'd be worried that I'd miss something important!
I was really hoping you would reply to this Vicki, knowing you have a lot of experience with hypnotherapy! I'm glad to hear you have the same problem (well not glad...but you know what I mean). I wasn't sure if maybe I was just doing it wrong :confused: I like how you mention being "hyper alert" that really applies to me. I also have a strong desire to know what's going on ...minus the shutting of the eyes but my fears operate differently and I don't really have any visual triggers. So far everyone that's commented saying that it does not work reports that they want to know what is going on at all times. I guess in some ways I prefer to be "present" so that I feel in control which is probably why this doesn't help me either. It's ironic to me how you have to be relaxed somewhat to use visualisation but you need to use visualisation to relax! :confused: Thanks for the input so far everyone! Gives me more to think about...
 
Carys

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#6
Yeah, thats a really good point actually Kitkat. A lot of this is about 'control' and needing/wanting to be in control. If you are laid out meditating and visualising, then you just a passive recipient of treatment. Often the aim has been, when I've read posts on here, to allow the patient to feel control.
 
carole

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#7
I'm with Vicki on this one, I need to know what is coming next, but without all the details, a bit like how you would describe something to a child maybe. I have trouble with fast and rushed movements as well.
So for me still don't want to see anything, oh I don't mind the x ray machine.
 
vicki

vicki

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#8
I think the thing about visualisation (or self hypnosis...), is that it does require a certain level of concentration and if someone is very anxious or even panicking, then the ability to concentrate, particularly without any prompting or guidance from someone else, tends to go out of the window; I know it certainly does for me! On the other hand, if someone else is giving the instructions (as opposed to me having to think about it internally and entirely on my own), then it's different.

Because visualisation is a distraction technique, it does enable a sort of 'mental escape' from your surroundings for a while. However, because you're busy visualising and 'blanking out' what's going on around you, you're also potentially missing an opportunity to build more of a trusting dentist-patient relationship. If the reason that you keep your eyes closed is so that you don't see anything which might trigger anxiety, then generally, you're still aware of what's happening and can still hear what the dentist is saying or doing if you want to. With visualisation, your attention is elsewhere and so you can quite often miss things such as caring gestures, which you would maybe otherwise pick up on.
 
I

iDent

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#9
In situations of extreme pain or high anxiety, visualisation absolutely does not work for me.

Years ago, probably during severe lunar cramps or an especially bad migraine, maybe even an abscessed tooth, I learned that the way to cope with extreme pain is to own and acknowledge it. . .since there is no escape. Similarly, the only way for me to cope with being in The Chair is to admit where I am and deal with it. When I'm being drilled and have nowhere to run or hide, I think it's best for me to be honest about what's happening and remind myself it will eventually be over.

Last week at Dr. Endo's, she asked if I wanted headphones. I declined: first, I have a bad startle reflex. If I was blissed out on Kate Bush, the Cocteau Twins, ELO, or Swing Out Sister (there I go, showing my age again!) with my eyes closed and the dental team tried to get my attention, I'd probably involuntarily jump out of The Chair! In addition, in the event that something did hurt, it would hurt much more if I was previously distracted. Also, even though I definitely don't want to see what's going on, I like to hear the dental team talk. . .I only wish I didn't have to hear the drill!