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Dental Chair Panic & the Limits of What Guided Imagery Can Do

23 Apr

Hi Belleruth,
 
Do you do custom-recordings (guided imagery, etc.)?

I have some teeth roots damaged in a bicycle accident a year ago and suffered panic attacks in the dentist chair, so the roots were then just left un-worked… Then and there I got temporary acrylic teeth installed, but in a partially broken status.
 
My panic story has been a whole other thing to deal with, appearing at different times in my life, always having to do with physical restrictions, as in the dentist’s chair.  I also purchased your panic attack recording.
 
At this point, I am looking for visual imagery meditations on my teeth roots in order to recover them naturally.
 
I made a very long story very short with respect to your time. As you can imagine, this is an extremely intense issue for me (in fact so big that it has taken me on a soul-path along with other major things happening in my life).
 
I will be deeply grateful for your reply.
Many thanks and blessings,
 
Sander

Dear Sander,

I’m sorry, but I don't make individual recordings any more.  I used to, back in 1988-9, but haven’t in a very long time.  It was so time-consuming, in fact, that it led me to the idea of making more general and inclusive audios for mass production, and that, of course, became Health Journeys.

There are many individual practitioners who do in fact have the ability to make great individual programs for people, and to find them, I’d go to the practitioner lists on the websites of either the Academy for Guided Imagery or Beyond Ordinary Nursing.  

However, in the case of your teeth roots, it's possible that imagery wouldn't help this situation. I don’t know enough about teeth or your situation to say definitively, but let me ask you some questions:

  • What exactly do you mean by “recovering your teeth roots naturally”?
  • Is this something that you know for sure can actually happen naturally?  
  • Do you know what this recovery process looks like?  
  • Has your dentist or oral surgeon explained to you how this could occur?

If it doesn't happen naturally, you probably cannot imagine it into happening. Guided imagery needs to go along with the body's natural healing processes.. Some health issues lend themselves really well to imagery; others to Western, allopathic medicine, emergency procedures and surgery.  

I suspect that in this instance, you would probably be best served with the dental surgery, if you could manage your panic.  So it’s good you’ve ordered those panic CDs.  You may also want to enlist the help of a therapist with hypnotherapy skills to help you through this.

Another possible solution, although it’s pretty extreme and last resort-ish, is considering having this done under general anesthesia, so you don't have to be conscious and battling waves of anxiety to get this done (assuming that being anesthetized doesn’t give you a similar jolt of panic). But if you can tolerate the idea, you could at least get this whole thing behind you, and you could then continue to work on your panic issues without having worries hanging over your head about your teeth.  

Good luck with this, and let us know what you decide and how it goes.

All best,
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award