Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT for short is a form of therapy in which the person is encouraged to talk about the way they feel and approach things. The aim is to change the way they think and do, from a negative to a positive state.

You are encouraged to discuss events which have happened in the past and now and how you react to them. This enables you to see if there is a pattern of behaviour which is causing your problem such as dental phobia.

Cognitive behavioural therapy for dental fear/phobia

How does this relate to dental fear/phobia?

The aim is for you to examine your feelings about visiting the dentist by breaking the problem down into small parts, such as the situation, feelings and actions. This will enable you to confront these and to see if there are ways you can change your responses.

This means looking at situations where you visited the dentist and how that made you feel at that time. What were your thoughts at that time and how did you react.  Where you negative about the entire experience?

What CBT does is to force you to self-analyse your emotions, moods and thoughts and how these may be causing you to behave in this way. In other words, it is not the situation such as the dentist’s surgery which is the problem but the way you react to it.

This process starts with you making small changes such as stopping yourself from imagining the worst and rationalising the situation in a logical way.

It means determining the cause of your dental fear/phobia and looking for a solution. The dentist is not the problem; the problem is your reactions to this.

This therapy requires patients to try it at home. They practise small changes such as being aware of any negative thoughts when a situation arises and making an effort to change these to positive thoughts. This will reduce anxiety levels and help to reduce the fear.

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