Consider saying nothing.

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

Consider saying nothing.

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Sigmund Freud emphasized that we are communicating when we are silent. So, often times silence is a powerful tool when used judiciously to break through to what a patient is really feeling or thinking.

This of course is relevant only if your intention is to establish a long-term helping relationship with a person. And in that case, the goal is to work toward open, honest, communication. So, sometimes we listen, and sometimes we judiciously speak. Sometimes we share how we are feeling, and sometimes we do not – at least not yet.

We need to tell the patient the truth, but the question is: When? When will be the most positively influential time for me to share what I know and how I feel about it?

These are questions that Bob Barkley explored with Nate Kohn, PhD and which successfully evolved into what is known today as “Codiscovery”. And Codiscovery is “learning with”, but also generous listening and judicious speaking. It involves sharing the truth, which is not the same as telling the patient what we think is the truth – because the truth is much more personal than just the facts.

Paul A. Henny, DDS

Thought Experiments LLC, ©2018


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