Hypnosis to combat fear


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Hypnosis to combat fear – Does it really help?

Last week, we told you all about dentophobia – an almost panicky reaction among affected people that sets in at even the slightest thought of a dentist visit. In less severe cases, this type of phobia roughly doubles the mental discomfort associated with a regular dental checkup. In more severe cases, it can lead to patients skipping necessary dentist appointments until their toothache becomes so terrible that they just cannot ignore it any longer and their teeth become damaged beyond repair. Ouch! Fortunately, there are several methods to combat this irrational fear including one of the more exotic ones: hypnosis.

Hypnosis to alleviate the fear of the dentist

Nowadays, hypnosis is used increasingly frequently to calm down patients who suffer from dentophobia prior to their dental checkups. This method can not only successfully calm down patients of almost any age right before a dentist appointment, but it can also alleviate their fear in the longer term. Therefore, hypnosis is used more and more often with children to ease their angst early on. Contrary to the more theatrical form of hypnosis that is often featured on TV shows, medical hypnosis is a treatment method that has not only been proven by multiple clinical studies but that is also taught on numerous universities.

Nevertheless, hypnosis is not a perfect solution as it does not work at all on 5% of the general population and only partially on another 20-30%. This is because people who fall into these 25-35% either have trouble concentrating or are extremely fearful of losing control over their senses. However, hypnosis specialists insist that the so-called trance (state of hypnosis) does not really equal to a loss of control but rather re-focuses a patient’s senses from his or her outward surroundings to his or her inner being.


Hypnosis methods that work

A successful hypnosis therapy helps a patient embark on a so-called mental journey which can be unlocked by various kinds of triggers including the following:

Internal Projections/Images – Specially-trained dentists conduct in-depth personal conversations with patients to identify their likes and dislikes, hobbies, and their so-called “happy places” in an effort to evoke only the most soothing images in these patients’ minds.

Imagination – An approach that is very similar to the “Internal Projections/Images” one and that involves a patient’s own imagination to produce a calming feeling (e.g., via imagining a soothing color).

Physical Pain Removal – This method ties a patient’s perceived feeling of pain (both physical and mental) to a physical motion, such as the clenching of one’s fist, which, if repeated multiple times, results in a gradual reduction of anxiety and stress. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – According to empirical analyses, this method of hypnosis is the most effective one and involves a direct confrontation of a patient with his or her source of fear to help them face and get over it. In many cases, this approach significantly reduces the panicky feeling inside a patient’s mind within only 15 minutes and thereby helps set the stage for a successful dentist visit. 

You can find additional information (in German 😊) about how hypnosis can help combat dentophobia in the following articles:

Die Presse
Kurier
Der Standard

In the meantime, happy tooth-brushing to you – ideally without any fear or need for hypnosis!



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All the Best & see you soon, Ace!





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