I have been somewhat cynical of clinical hypnotherapy over the years and it has been something that has never interested me but as I gain more experience, I have realised that it takes many facets of practise to get it right! Hypnosis in dentistry is nothing new and has been used by many exponents over the years to help the clinician deal with nervous patients. I recently attended a two-day course in clinical hypnosis, run by the Institute of Hypnotherapy for Medical and Dental Practice in central London, and my thinking on hypnosis has altered. The course was led by Dr John Butler, well-known in the world of clinical hypnosis, widely published and president of the British Society of Hypnotherapy. It was somewhat of a serendipitous course for me as there were two other hygienists I knew and I was sat next to Roy Bennett of Mellow Dental, someone with whom I frequently chat on Twitter. The course was fully subscribed and was attended by a mixture of dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists. Many attending seemed to be in the second half of their career and the inferences I drew from this is that, as we gain experience, we become open to new ways of thinking.
It was stressed there would be a focus on the practical elements of clinical hypnosis rather than the reading and learning. Dr Butler suggested that it is the very real and practical elements of hypnosis that are needed, rather than reading complex psychological texts. As with many aspects of our work, communication is the key in hypnosis that can become an adjunct to the already large range of skills we use daily to help patients. Dr Butler also suggests that, for our anxious and nervous patients, the power of suggestion may well help to overcome the fear without the need for placing patients into deep trance-like states.