Understanding your own history and reactions
Remember that people with a fuller trauma container are likely to feel that the world around them is an overwhelming and even threatening place. It is important for each of us to be aware of the experiences that take up space in our own trauma container.
This helps us be aware what situations, behaviours, or emotions might trigger us.
This allows us to be more aware of what might get triggered when we interact with others or in certain situations.
This awareness is especially helpful when working with patients.
For example, if you are working with a patient who is extremely anxious. If they become angry in the middle of a procedure and this reminds you of an experience in your personal life, you might become very uncomfortable. You might find it hard to maintain your focus on your role. Understanding triggers and learning to acknowledge what is happening for you, allows you to take care of yourself.
It can also allow you to separate the current situation from the memories of the experience you had before. Thereby allowing you to feel more aware of what is happening for you and your patient. Gaining this level of self-awareness takes time and can sometimes require peer support and/or professional support. It can be very rewarding in your personal and professional life.
Taking the pulse
It is important to determine how to best support each patient. Take the time to check if there is any dental anxiety or dental trauma flagged in the patient file. If so, ask the patient how you can best support them through the procedure.