You've got the best practitioners, state-of-the art facilities, and excellent track record–yet you're missing out on a huge part of the market.
For patients who suffer from dental trauma, PTSD, complex trauma, or ongoing abuse, even routine check-ups can cause extreme stress. Due to their increased dysregulation, patients are less likely to attend regular appointments and maintain good oral health. When they do show up, their nervous system hijacks them and they get retraumatised. This, in turn, worsens their feelings of shame and fear, making it even more difficult for them to come see you again.
But you can help change that.
for dental practices
Did you know...
of adults experience dental anxiety.
of them suffer from extreme dental fear.
Trauma-informed care is the future.
Over the last few years trauma has become more commonly acknowledged, and specialists like Bessel van der Kolk, Gabor Maté, and Peter Levine are becoming household names. Even Oprah wrote a book about it!
Naturally, people are beginning to realise the impact of trauma in their day-to-day lives more than ever - we see this in the significant increase in reports of childhood abuse, the growing public discourse on trauma, and the popularity of therapeutic approaches that work with the body.
Naturally, people are feeling more empowered to seek treatment and, most importantly, to choose trauma-informed services–especially in the health and wellness sector. And they’re willing to pay extra for it too.
Trauma-informed care is a game-changer for survivors of trauma or adverse childhood experiences. By learning how trauma manifests in the here-and-now you can make small, inexpensive changes to the practice that have a huge impact increasing the regularity of visits, establishing trust, and offering a better experience.
The impact of trauma
1 in 5 adults experienced abuse in childhood.
Trauma is a fact of life. It can take many forms, but it generally refers to an experience that is perceived as life-threatening, which overwhelms the nervous system and disrupts the brain's integrative capacity. And because it's all about the perceived danger, trauma is highly subjective. For some people trauma may have been caused by catastrophic events or severe abuse. But for many it was about daily, seemingly minor occurrences.
In response to the immense stress, the body's defence system hijacks the brain and triggers survival responses: fight, flight, freeze, collapse/submit, please and appease, or attach/cry for help. These have a high cost on the person's physiology, and when unresolved they become coping mechanisms that persist after the experience in the form of debilitating symptoms. These can manifest immediately after the event, like in the case of PTSD, or take years to show up–often the case in complex trauma (or childhood abuse).
1 in 10 children in the UK have suffered neglect trauma;
1 in 14 children in the UK have been physically abused;
1 in 15 children in the UK have been emotionally abused;
1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused*.
Understanding your traumatised patients can drastically improve outcomes and revenue.
The traumatised person lives with a dysregulated and highly sensitive nervous system. Their window of tolerance is very narrow, and they have a difficult time tolerating stress or pain. Because of this, they often live limited lives trying to avoid triggers that remind them of the trauma: staying away from places, people, or situations that share a resemblance to the original event in order to avoid the overwhelming feelings attached with it. Depending on their nervous system state, they may become combative or avoidant when triggered.
People who are terrified of the dentist may not have had an original dental trauma, but may be triggered by having to lie down in the chair, being touched, feeling out of control, or suffering pain during the procedure. They may avoid showing up for follow-up appointments or only see you in an emergency. They may become difficult and confrontational during procedures, asking you to stop, refusing treatment, or becoming angry with you.
That's why it's essential to learn to see the full context of trauma.
When a traumatised person becomes triggered, they experience a bottom-up hijacking: their body is filled with stress hormones that trigger the survival response and shut down the analytical/rational parts of the brain. In that moment, their ability to perceive the present is compromised because the body is reliving the past.
Practitioners with knowledge of trauma can quickly recognise this hijacking and support the patient to come back to their window of tolerance. This not only helps them carry out the treatment more efficiently, but also supports the patient's recovery from trauma by offering them a disconfirming experience. Needless to say, this builds trust and greatly increases the patient's likelihood of returning to the practice in time.
Simple strategies can have a huge impact on the oral health care and safety for patients who suffer from dental and complex trauma.
I know because I'm that client.
Yes, I’m one of these patients–or, better said, I used to be. A series of unfortunate and unkind childhood experiences had left me terrified of the dentist. Even as an adult, I would experience intense fear and dissociation during treatment. Regardless of how good my current dentist was, my body and nervous system were still living in the past, experiencing old feelings of terror and helpnessness.
I sought special clinics, paid extra, but still couldn’t feel safe enough to maintain regular care. And so, recall emails would pile up in my inbox for years until the fear of losing my teeth would finally outweigh the deep shame and fear of treatment. I'd look for yet another anxiety-friendly clinic and find myself freezing in the dentist chair. And then the trauma cycle would begin again.
So what changed, you ask?
Well, I became a trauma specialist. I left my 10-year advertising career to retrain as a trauma-informed psychotherapist and meditation teacher. By understanding the bottom-up highjacking that happens with trauma triggers, I developed my own plan for keeping my nervous system safe before and during treatments.
And now I'm supporting others through it. In my practice I use my knowledge and tools to guide clients to safety as they process the effects of trauma. I teach trauma-sensitive adaptations for mindfulness meditation. And now I want to help others patients like me by training dental practitioners in the art and science of navigating trauma.
Trauma-informed care is the future.
And it all starts with education.
Improve patient satisfaction, recall, and revenue with simple tools that make a big difference.
The trauma-informed workshop
An in-depth workshop discussing the neuro-psyhco-physiological aspects of trauma, including how to screen for trauma, recognise survival responses as they happen, and help patients return to their window of tolerance during treatment.
This workshop includes 3 hours of teaching in-person at your practice or via Zoom, plus a customised plan you can implement right away to make the practice more trauma-informed.
In this live workshop we will cover how to:
Screen new patients for trauma;
Address trauma with new patients before treatment to create trust and improve treatment outcomes;
Recognise trauma responses as they happen and respond promptly to bring the patient back to safety;
Help patients shift out of a freeze response to avoid retraumatisation;
Support patients to regulate from a hyperaroused fight/flight response to continue the procedure safely;
Start and end a treatment session in a trauma-informed way to increase safety and confidence for patients.
Ready to future-proof your practice?
Walk the walk and talk the talk
Completely transform your practice by purchasing the workshop and the marketing plan to communicate it.
The complete transformation
Let's face it, if you're going to put in the good work of learning all these tools, you'd be a fool to not let the world know about them.
That's why I'm leveraging my 10-year advertising experience to create a bespoke communication plan for you to show off your new skills and attract the clients who need them so much.
This pack includes the 3-hour workshop for practitioners plus a complete trauma-informed marketing plan for new and existing clients, including bespoke materials services to increase visibility and attract new clients.
In addition to the workshop, you'll get:
Fresh copy for your homepage to reflect that you're a trauma-informed practice (up to 250 words).
One bespoke blog article/page about the importance of trauma-informed care and outcomes of the workshop for your staff (up to 1000 words).
One recorded meditation/visualisation exercise to send your clients before treatment in order to prepare and resource;
A complete customer journey set of emails to send existing and new clients;
Updated Google Maps copy;
5 social media posts to amplify your message (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn).
Ready to grow your practice?