EMDR with patients with dentophobia


An appointment at the dentist’s is not what most people look forward to. For some people, however, even the mere thought of having to undergo dental treatment causes them to feel extreme fear and panic. Between 5 and 15% of the world population suffer from such a pathological form of dental fear, called dental phobia. Dentally anxious individuals commonly avoid necessary dental procedures for many years despite deteriorating oral health, agonizing pain and severe psychosocial problems. The majority of individuals with dental phobia recall a traumatic event as cause for the onset of their fear. Interestingly, nearly 50% of them even suffer from posttraumatic stress symptoms, such as intrusive memories, nightmares, hyperarousal and avoidance behavior. EMDR can be a very useful instrument to help dentally anxious people to cope with past traumatic experiences and to prepare them for future confrontations with phobic stimuli. The 90-minute workshop will give background information to the problem of pathological dental fear and present evidence from research showing that EMDR is an effective treatment method for dentophobia. The main focus will be on the practical procedure, which will be illustrated using video sequences of patient sessions.

Learning objectives:
This workshop will provide you with the following information:
•a short review of current research and literature •the use of the EMDR protocol in its specific application to dentally anxious patients, with special emphasis on preparing the patient for future confrontations by working with flashforwards, future template and video check •ways of combining EMDR with other cognitive, behavioral and imagery techniques in the treatment of dental phobia.






Vanessa Bisping

Original Work Citation

Bisping, V. (2011, June). EMDR with patients with dentophobia. Presentation at the 12th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Vienna, Austria



“EMDR with patients with dentophobia,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed July 9, 2020, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/20662.

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