Dental phobia is increasingly common and something that I see on a regular basis. In fact I even run practice days at my dentist's surgery twice a month to help people who are worried about a dental appointment. This fear can also include a fear of needles.
In this episode of The Speakmans on ITV we met Ashley who has a fear of dentists. Her dental phobia started when she had problems as a child with her teeth. Now aged 28 Ashley has not been to the dentist since she was 16 years old. She would rather suffer toothache and has lost five teeth since she last visited a dentist because of her dental phobia.
Now her phobia means that she is more withdrawn and she is now having problems with her front teeth which means that she will not smile. Her boyfriend is also concerned because she has lost a lot of weight as she will not eat proper meals. She has gone from a size 10 to a size 6. She only eats cereal with the front of her mouth. She also has a baby called Peyton and she wants her to see a good example. She would like to get married but cannot do this because she is scared of being able to smile in her wedding pictures.
Interestlingly this seemed like something that the Speakmans could deal with without having a group family session, but as per every other episode they did in fact see Ashley and her boyfriend together. This is something that happens with every person the Speakmans see and is all to predictable. You do not need to have a family, in order to get help. I think the message this is sending may concern those who are alone or do not have support. That is simply not the case and is just a sad reflection on a prorgamme that is relying too heavily on its format to the detriment of helping people who are watching. When the Speakmans said that unless she spoke to her boyfirend about the situation they could not help her, do understand that this is for television and they could equally help her without her having to cry in front of her boyfriend, but this clearly doesnt make such entertaining television.
Sharing your worries is of course a good thing to do, but if you have no one to share them with and feel alone then sharing them with your therapist really will help.
The overly dramatic music adds to the tension but it is a shame that we do not see more of the actions that the Speakmans take in their private therapy sessions.
Once her sister was brought into the room I started to feel even more unhappy with the way that therapy is being portrayed as something that you can only do in a group. I know that the Speakmans have been asked about this via social media and I have also received enquiries following their TV shows asking the same. For the record myself and most therapists see clients as individuals and not in a group setting.
It is also interesting to see that they exposed her to dental instruments in order to treat her. This desensitisation method is quite old fashioned. Although, again this may just be a device to create interesting television. I know that when I work with clients at the dental practice I would never expose them to something unless they felt ready and asked me to.
Sadly we miss much of the actual therapy that takes place so we do not really know what techniques that Nik and Eva Speakman use to treat Dental Phobia. The fear of dentists can be dealt with in a variety of ways, depending on the issue and client. I use a mixture of talking, hypnotherapy, EFT and NLP to help you to lose your dental phobia and move forward with your life. We saw the Speakmans show Ashley a picture of her face with the teeth blacked out. I sometimes think that the TV show art department need to create a lot of props that may not normally be used.
Of course the important thing is that we are seeing that you can overcome a phobia. If you want to keep a phobia and let if cause you worries and problems you could do that, or you could seek help and let that phobia go. Which would you prefer?
If you are looking for help with a dental phobia then you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07980 233160. As well as working from my Hypnotherapy practice room in Redditch and my Dental Surgery in Stratford on Avon I offer sessions via Skype.
You can read more about my work at the Dental Practice and Dental Hypnotherapy here.. Dental Hypnotherapy for fear of dentists.
Never be afraid to ask for help. Asking is often the hardest part.