Is there anything I need to prepare or do before my first session?
There is nothing you have to do before your first session with me. We will take some time at the beginnig of your first session for me to understand your concerns and to provide an idea of what you would like to achieve through working with me.
Why do you use Somatic Experiencing® to resolve past overwhelming experiences at the dentist?
I use the Somatic Experiencing® approach to resolve past overwhelming experiences at the dentist, because I have come to see how the body plays a crucial role in helping the mind understand what is going on with the fear, anxiety and phobia that are aquired through negative dental experiences in the past.
Peter Levine, Ph.D. says that "the trauma lives in the body and not in the original event", hence when we address the trauma and dental fear in the body as it shows up in the present moment, we can achieve a resolution of the fear to a significant degree.
There are various techniques to work with dental anxiety. To me in my practice as a dentist it became evident that the fear that patients hold in their bodies can truly benefit from being addressed for them to fully resolve their fear and to feel more at ease when seeing their dentist. Sometimes the tools I offer with the 4 Types of Dental Control are enough to help patients feel in charge of their fear, in which case that's enough, which is great.
Somatic Experiencing®, a trauma therapy, is aimed at resolving traumas stored in the body through engaging the language of the body.
The results have been incredible, and the clients I work with are able to see the dentist without the excessive anxiety or fear that has been so familiar to them.
Will I be fully free of my fear when I see my dentist the next time?
In my experience the dental fear lessens to a big degree. Whether you will be fully free of fear or whether there will still be some fear left will remain to be seen, but what I can say is that giving your body, your nervous system and your mind an opportunity to consciously digest your experience of going to the dentist, most often takes the intensity out of the fear.
It is realistic to feel some sense of apprehension and unease when being at the dentist, so I don't expect you to be fully fearless.
Going to the dentist can still be unpleasant as some procedures require some physical discomfort. But the big difference is that you will feel more in control and empowered as a patient, and the automatic reaction of your nervous system to the situation will lessen to a significant degree.
Will you give me any techniques or other things I can practice to help me deal with my fear of the dentist?
Yes! There are many tools to help you take charge of your fear of the dentist, and I will support you chooshing and applying the ones that fit with your situation. I encourage clients to practice these tools between sessions, and especially before seeing the dentist.
I will always do this in a co-creation with you, making sure I offer things that are doable and supportive for you in your specific situation.
How do I book a session with you? And how do I manage my bookings?
Please follow the BOOK NOW button which will take you directly to my calendar.
You can manage your bookings through the Log In Members Area at the top right corner of my website. You will need to create a new member profile the first time you sign in, and you do this by choosing Sign Up with the email address you used to book your appointment.
How do we meet?
I use an excellent and safe programme called Zoom for my work with my clients.
You will receive a Zoom link prior to our meeting, and if you haven't used Zoom before you are required to click the link before the meeting, and it will ask you to download the programme. Click "yes" to this and Zoom will download in a few minutes. It is completely safe and easy to use.
You will receive the Zoom link in your appointment booking confirmation email.
What happens in the body and nervous system when I experienced overwhelm?
As you can see from this graph, the symptoms of undischarged traumatic stress generated by the initial overwhelming event at the dentist, get generated when the Sympathetic nervous system gets STUCK ON, or the Parasympathetic nervous system gets STUCK OFF.
What this means is that there is a lot of charge in the nervous system when it comes to seeing the dentist, and this is what I am looking to support patients let go of.
If you now feel overwhelmed or afraid of seeing the dentist, part of our work may in other words involve supporting your nervous system towards greater CALM.
How do past overhwelm at the dentist get released from the nervous system?
The way I work with Somatic Experiencing® in conversation is to first of all establish you with a resource. A resource is simply something you have in your life that reliably makes you feel calm and peaceful. We let you fully feel this before we start talking about any difficult dental experiences you might have had and how they are showing up in your life right now.
Then we will gently support you to connect some of the distress that comes with seeing the dentist for you, and let you body and mind make sense of your current fear.
This is very briefly explained, and it will perhaps make even more sense when we speak, but it is simply to give you a little taste of how I work when I help patients release dental trauams and fear from their nervous system.
The Somatic Experiencing® approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions in relations to past difficult experiences at the dentist.
If your fear of the dentist developed for instance through overwhelming experiences of pain and you were unable to "escape" the situation, the high arousal of survival energy that comes when our animal organisms feel under threat, gets trapped in the body, it does not get to be released as it would in the wild through the fight or flight response.
I help my clients complete this release of survival energy that might have been trapped in the body for years and gets activated every time you think about or need to go and see your dentist. Clients then become free of this energy that has been "stuck" in their nervous system which in turn can radically reduce dental fear.
Trauma is a strong word. I am not sure I actually have dental trauma, how do I know?
I absolutely understand what you say when you hear the word trauma, and feeling that this is a very strong word.
The way I see it, is that using the word trauma is simply a way to speak about difficult and overwhelming experiences at the past when seeing the dentist that created an overwhelm in your nervous system.
So yes, if you feel overly anxious or afraid about seeing the dentist, put off making appointments or even force yourself to go regularly or you don't go at all, there certainly is a good possiblity that you may have dental truama.
What I would say though, is please don't get too caught up on the word, but know that when something is "too much, too soon, too fast" for our bodies and minds, what is referred to as trauamtic symptoms may be created in the person.
This is the work I am passionate about helping patients resolve, as there really is another way to address dental anxiety and fear - which is BEFORE getting to the dental chair rather than IN the dental chair.
What can I expect from a session?
First we will discuss what you would like to achieve through working with me. You will not have to re-tell or re-live the difficult event(s) that led to your fear of the dentist unless you want to. Many of my clients do.
Then we will create a PLAN of ACTION for you.
This involves looking at the 4 TYPES of DENTAL CONTROL you can take as a patient. With each type of control there are different tools and exercises I offer, and I will tailor these to meet you in your situation.
I will then offer very practical ways of putting these into action for you.
If you are aware of past overwhelming experiences at the dentist - and you would like to resolve these, we will add in this work as well. Sometimes my clients have partial success with the tools and skills, and still see there is anxiety they don't quite feel able to manage, then we can discuss looking at some past events.
I offer an environment of impartial and compassionate support to facilitate the release of your dental fear and stress.