Freedom From Stress, Anxiety, Burnout and Pain
We might all resonate with the picture above after a challenging day in the clinic. For many this is also more common than not.
The excellent BDA Research Paper "The Mental Health and Well-being of UK Dentists: A Qualitative Study (J. Larbie, M. Kemp, P. Whitehead, Aug 2017) speaks in depth about the challenges facing our profession today when it comes to mental health. A high percentage of dentists regularly experience stress, anxiety, burnout and/or depression, and the scope of how these impact the well-being of dentists in the UK is discussed.
As an example around 39 percent of community dentists identified themselves as experiencing high levels of job stress compared with around 15 percent of British employees more widely (HSE, 2010).
The most commonly identified sources of work-related stress for dentists were:
Time constraints or pressures
Challenging patients, for example, patient or carer expectations, anxious patients
Management, for example poor quality management, managerial expectations, lack of support
Administrative duties and other non-clinical responsibilities
Workload, for example, too much work, work-life balance, working late
Staffing issues, which includes staff shortages and under-staffing
So I believe it's beyond discussion that work-related stress can be a serious hindrance for dentists to enjoy their career.
For me as I went searching for solutions to my own stress and anxiety in particular, what I came to discover through my rigorous certification as an Integral Coach™ is that we all have a way of approaching how we deal with our stress and anxiety or burnout.
We will try to deal with it by drawing on what we already have in our "arsenal", and this can be successful to various degrees.
As an example of this; in my own story when I tried to manage my stress as a dentist through intensive yoga practice and ended up seriously injuring myself, ending up in even more pain both physically and emotionally instead of relieving my stress. But where my blind spot and weak area actually turned out to be, was my lack of ability to manage systems and structures which was actually what was one of the key contributors to my persistent feelings of stress and also anxiety on an ongoing and debilitating basis. Doing yoga was not the solution, as how I processed the stress was not really the root of the stress for me.
So, for me, when I learned to incorporate systems and processes to support my overall work flow and management of patients in my day, my practice and enjoyment levels at work and in life radically changed. So this is one example, of many, of the importance of actually understanding the bigger picture and how your approach to dealing with your stress may or may not be what's most effective for you.
In the coaching programmes I offer I work with my clients offering practices uniquely tailored to their clinical situation, to their personality style, and to their unique struggles.
Coaching practices I give to my clients can include things like:
Slowing down your pace and developing discernment of when to use the appropriate speed rather than always going at 100%. This can go a long way to eliminate exhaustion and preserve energy, something that in itself can be hugely empowering.
Change or becoming more aware of your posture
Looking at ways to increase effectiveness of communication with patients and staff
Uncovering limiting or negative belief and replacing them with more constructive ones
and more..... All in service of you becoming your own inner and outer leader.
Also through conversation with me and talking about what it is that is your experience can powerfully support you make sense of and process what you are dealing with in your current situation, which creates some distance and a sense of relief.
The two key methodologies I use are Integral Coaching® and Somatic Experiencing®.
Integral Coaching® was one of the key contributors that allowed for me to take a meta-perspective on my own situation in clinical practice and approach dealing with my stress much more constructively.
Integral Coaching® also allowed for me to embody new and more effective, enjoyable ways of working. Integral Theory is the work of philosopher Ken Wilber and it represents a "map of everything". This simply means that the Integral Coaching® methodology is an all-inclusive and comprehensive methodology that creates sustainable and long-lasting change for you as the client.
Somatic Experiencing® was one of the most powerful modalities I came across in my search for solutions in addressing my own back pain and the trauma that came with that.
Somatic Experiencing® is a pioneering body-based approach to overcoming trauma, shock and other stress disorders. It is the life’s work of American psychotherapist Dr. Peter A. Levine, combining the fruits of his study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics alongside over 45 years of successful clinical application.
The SE approach aims to safely release traumatic shock 'frozen' in the body at times of overwhelm, allowing for a natural transformation of both PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early childhood trauma.
Combining Somatic Experiencing® with Integral Coaching® has been a game changer for the way I am able to support my clients and help them address and shift their stress, anxiety, depression or burnout in their clinical situation.
DISCLAIMER: First of all, if you have physical pain I always advise that you seek out a medical professional to eliminate any physical condition or cause as the root of any pain condition.
Are you curious? Let’s talk, and see how I can help you.
If this sounds interesting to you please get in touch for a non-obligation chat and see how Leadership Coaching for Dentists can help you.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you!