The concept of NOT providing major rehabilitative or esthetic treatment on people who are functional strangers to us, is one that I have believed-in for over thirty years, and is rooted in my exposure to the work of L.D. Pankey (Know your Patient).
On an intuitive level, this makes perfect sense, how can we possibly manage a person’s expectations if we are not first in a relationship which allows for us to have conversations centered around them?
And there is an important strategic side to to this issue as well. Studies at the University of Virginia show that patients tend to not sue dentists they like, and whose character and motives they understand. Simply put, when something off-plan occurs, or an undesirable outcome evolves, the patient typically views the dentist as someone who is trying their best to help them – and not as an adversary to attack in retribution. They continue to work with the dentist until a more desirable outcome occurs as long as they feel the dentist is working in good faith to resolve the issue.
You see, healthy fully-functional relations are two-way streets, and they involve the rather concrete expectations of BOTH individuals.
In the middle of our busy days, it is often easy for us to forget this truth; it is too easy for us to confuse ‘good rapport’ with ‘good relationships’. ‘Good rapport is when we think, “I like this person, and this person seems to like me”, it is an important first step in relationship-building, but it is shallow. It does not involve a deep sharing of mutual expectations.
Only a truly helping relationship has the capacity to create an environment where mutual expectations can be shared, and where fears and confusion are addressed and appropriately managed over time.
Bob Barkley helped to pioneer the development of truly helping relationships in dentistry, and he learned about this concept from Dr. Pankey as well. Bob went on to master the method with the help of Nate Kohn, Jr. PhD —an educational psychologist and follower of Carl Roger’s work.
What Bob and Nate evolved became known as “Codiscovery” and Codiagnosis”, and it changed the world of dentistry forever, because it changed how patents felt about themselves, their dentist, and therefore the role of dentistry in their lives.
How well do you know your patients? Have you fully harnessed the power of Codiscovery to create more and more truly helping relationships?
Paul A, Henny, DDS
Thought Experiments LLC, ©2018
Read more at www.codiscovery.com