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Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC

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Mental Health Spotlight is a recurring column in Today’s RDH written by dental hygienist and Licensed Professional Counselor Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC. Mental Health Spotlight focuses on daily issues faced by dental healthcare providers and offers practical applications. Kandice is an experienced clinician in both the dental and mental health worlds and combines the two to offer solutions and strategies for an improved personal and professional life. Follow Kandice @The Counselor Hygienist on Instagram and Facebook. Contact Kandice to speak or write for your event at www.kandiceswarthout.com

Roadblocks or Freedom? Using Boundaries in the Dental Office and Life

The word boundary is often misused or misunderstood. Many of my counseling clients believe that a boundary means being harsh, aggressive, or saying “no” at every turn. Often, they think that they will ruin or lose relationships if they suddenly request a different behavior or way of being from a person. Dental hygienists, for example, struggle with a boundary governing...

Patient Education: Why Dental Hygienists Should Stop Being Minimizers

Several years ago, it occurred to me that I was a minimizer. I heard myself say things to my patients, such as, “You have a little bit of bleeding. I am just going to clean your teeth, and you might want to think about getting that cavity treated.” These minimal instructions and suggestions began to stand out when I transitioned...

‘Leave It at the Door’: Controlling Emotions in the Dental Workplace

Over the years, I have heard many different cliches and suggestions about the appropriateness of carrying our personal lives through the doors of the dental hygienist's workplace. It has been said that to "bring matters of the heart" to work is considered unprofessional. We should find a way to "check it at the door" and resist all temptation to...

Can Self-Care be Painful? The Hard Work of Deep Self-Care

The term self-care has become a popular buzz word, usually as encouragement to engage in activities that fill our souls and provide a resting place after a busy day. The term is increasingly appearing on social media, in self-help books, and even advertisements. As dental professionals, we often hear about physical self-care due to the daily microtraumas caused by the...

Mental Health Spotlight: Hygienists Can Utilize Implementation Intentions to Achieve Goals

The clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve, and magically we are to be a changed being, living by a new set of rules that promises a life as an improved human. This set of self-inflicted rules is often unattainable or overwhelming. A new year brings a fresh perspective and opportunity for 12 new glorious chapters to make different...

Emotional Regulation: How Dental Hygienists Can Cope during Stressful Times

As a society and a profession, we are facing an extremely stressful time. The COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions are not only a public health emergency, but it has quickly become an emotional and mental health crisis. Stress-related depression and anxiety are rising while families are trapped at home with no or little income, homeschooling children, and under a constant barrage...

Stressful Times: The Role of Dental Hygienists in Suicide Awareness

Recent world events have created an extremely stressful situation for dental professionals. The cumulative tension of income loss, homeschooling, isolation, lack of essential items, partner power struggles, being inundated with new safety information, and returning to work with stringent infection control mandates may become unendurable for many. Some of us are returning to work and adjusting to the “new normal.”...