Dealing with pressure and stress during COVID-19 and beyond

stress pressureGuy Hiscott examines how a new course spearheaded by orthodontist Neil Counihan aims to help dental professionals cope better with stress.

A leading orthodontist has developed a new course. He hopes it will help dental professionals cope better with the pressures of life under COVID-19.

Neil Counihan is past principal of the award-winning Metamorphosis Orthodontics. He is now executive chairman of the Extreme Leaders business development organisation. He believes there has never been a better time for dental professionals to take charge of their mental health.

‘Tailor-made for burnout’

Neil says: ‘Professional careers in the 21st century are often tailor-made for people to suffer the negative effects of stress.

‘This is not about personality, but is often due to a combination of technology, targets, professional pride (there’s always a little more that can be achieved with a few more hours worked), peer group pressure, the current pandemic, a lack of control, less job security and ineffective self-care strategies.’

To that end, he designed the course to help delegates learn and develop resilience. This is a mental health concept picking up momentum in recent years.

Psychologists define resilience as ‘the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress’. While it is often described as being able to ‘bounce back’ from hardship, it can also involve personal growth.

The aim of resilience is not to make these experiences any less difficult, but to improve our ability to cope with them, without suffering adverse outcomes. It is not a personality trait but a skill that you learn and develop.

Back to basics

The new course – titled ‘Basics of resilience’ – uses a blend of online forums, live webinars and one-to-one coaching to help attendees learn to better cope with stress.

The course leaders include polar explorer Alan Chambers MBE and presenter of SAS: Who Dares Wins, Jason Fox, whose own challenges in overcoming mental health issues have been well documented. The programme has a deep-rooted basis in science too, boasting performance specialist Andy McCann and Marc Jones, a professor of psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, among its team.

The aim of the course is to help its delegates to remain optimistic and motivated under pressure.

‘Those who demonstrate resilience show great psychological flexibility, effective energy management and have strong relationships and support networks that help them to amplify their productivity and wellbeing,’ explains the course material.

A key driver of the ‘Basics of resilience’ course is to make it affordable to any who need it. As a result, a basic annual subscription to the digital platform costs £25 per person. The full ‘Basics of resilience’ course costs £300 plus VAT. It gives full access to the online learning platform, including three months of online webinars with the Extreme Leaders team, live forums and additional material.

Building mental resilience

How do we build mental resilience? Neil and his team argue there are several key pillars – the basics. We can work on these to improve our ability to handle pressure:

B – biology

A – attitude

S – self-care

I – inner control

C – circuit breakers

S – social ecosystem

For more information ring 0208 798 0504, email [email protected] or visit


This article first appeared in Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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