The Treatment of Dental Phobia with a Meditational and Behavioral Reorientation Self-Hypnosis

  • G. W. Fairfull Smith


The patients included a random selection of the next 20 dental phobics referred to the Glasgow Dental Hospital, Scotland, Hypnosis Clinic, after all other methods had failed.

Although fear is necessary for homeostasis (Valentine, 1956; Landis, 1964; Gray, 1971) when it becomes out of proportion to the demands of the situation, cannot be reasoned with and is beyond voluntary control, it is known as a phobia (Marks, 1969; Levitt, 1971).

Willoughly’s personality schedule (Wilkinson and Latif, 1974), The Stanford Hypnotic Clinical Scale (Morgan and Hilgard, 1975), Glasgow Dental Hospital — Dental Phobia Index (Fairfull Smith et al., 1980) were administered to the patients.

Hypnotic induction was achieved with the G.D.H. method (Fairfull Smith, 1976a) and patients were then taught a modification of Stein’s “Clenched Fist” technique (Stein 1965). They were taught self-hypnosis (Smith, 1970) and four distinct therapies were built into it as follows:
  1. 1.

    Deep relaxation suggestions (Jacobson, 1938; Benson et al., 1975).

  2. 2.

    Ego-boosting (Hartland, 1965: Stanton, 1975: Fairfull Smith, 1976b).

  3. 3.

    Meditational Mantra (Benson et al., 1975; Biofeld, 1977: Fairfull Smith 1976b).

  4. 4.

    Desensitization by reciprocal inhibition (Wolpe, 1958).


85% of the patients overcame their phobia in an average of 4.7 sessions of 1/2 hour each. After 2 years they were still symptom free and attending regularly. Other neuroses also disappeared, and the necessity for psychotropic chemotherapy diminished.


Dental Treatment Relaxation Response Reciprocal Inhibition General Dental Practitioner Dental Phobia 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. W. Fairfull Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Hypnosis ClinicDental HospitalGlasgowScotland

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