Practice Managers’ Retreat

A review of the Retreat held in Wydale Hall recently – to reserve your place on the next retreat go Joanna Taylor’s website.

Practice Managers’ Retreat

Wow, what an amazing two days!

Wydale Hall in North Yorkshire is a beautiful 18th century country house set in 14 acres of gardens and woodlands.  It is the retreat house and conference centre for the diocese of York.  With warm spring weather and the odd April shower, it was the perfect setting to escape the rigors of daily life for busy dental practice managers.  Three of the delegates stayed at the hall, arriving on Sunday evening for dinner and a restful night to set them up for the interesting two days ahead.

We started on the Monday morning as five individuals who were wondering what a retreat was all about. By the end of the first session we had discovered we had so much in common & found a bond between us, none of us were in this alone, we shared common stresses, highs and lows in our jobs and we all had a great enthusiasm for our teams and practices.

Our trainers and guides for the retreat were Joanna Taylor and Alun Rees.  Joanna is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Master Practitioner and an INLPTA Certified Trainer and most important of all a busy dental practice manager!  Alun is a dentist and business coach and is married to a busy dental practice manager!  We knew from the start that we were in good hands.

Joanna and Alun provided a safe environment for us to be honest with each other and ourselves. We learnt techniques that will enable us to grow not only as individuals and but also as practice managers.  There was an abundance of time and space to discuss individual issues and to acquire tools and skills to help us cope with a variety of aspects of dental practice management.

We learnt about how we communicate, how we can’t not communicate and how our communication affects us and those around us.

Joanna talked about the functions of the mind and that we have a conscious and unconscious part to our brains.  The conscious mind equates to approximately 5% of our brain and is responsible for making decisions and thinking and processes small “chunks” of information for us.  The unconscious mind is the other 95% and this is where our habits, beliefs, values, emotions and “automatic pilot” reside. It can process millions of “chunks” of information.

We gave some time to thinking about our own beliefs and values and how these affect our bodies and how we behave.  We learnt to pay attention to our body signals of stress and tension and to notice any negativity.

Very usefully both Joanna and Alun helped us discover ways to deal with awkward situations and people.  Alun gave us an overview of Transitional Analysis and introduced us to the concept of Parent, Adult, Child which rang familiar bells with all of us!  He recommended the book ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’ by Thomas A Harris for further reading.

Another useful topic covered was the management of change – both for the practice and for individuals. Successful practices can and do adapt to change; very successful practices anticipate and manage change in advance. We looked at Robert Dilt’s model, Neurological Levels of Change that provides a useful framework for deciding at what level it is appropriate to work to achieve the desired outcome and to manage the change.

Some time was spent on the second day looking at our personal goals.  We looked at six areas of our lives: career or professional, family, relationships, personal growth, health & fitness and spirituality.  We explored which areas we weren’t achieving the results we wanted.  Joanna suggested some powerful questions to ask ourselves, which would help to identify beliefs that were limiting our success in gaining those results.

Most interestingly we learnt techniques in self-hypnosis where Joanna took us slowly through the processes that would be useful in different situations and we were able to practice no fewer than five different methods. Self-hypnosis is a naturally occurring state that virtually everyone, with practice, can learn to use for achieving goals that otherwise might be too difficult to achieve.  Self-hypnosis can help with many issues including stress, resolving problems and achieving goals, such as smoking cessation or improving emotional health and life balance.

Joanna’s skills at storytelling proved invaluable in reinforcing the learning whilst Alun’s vast experience of dental practice meant that everything stayed relevant.

These two days were of great value personally and professionally.  By the end of the second day we were looking forward to taking our experiences back into our real worlds.

The retreat gave me time and space in lovely surroundings to take stock of my life and work and to face future challenges with more confidence in myself and my abilities.

I thoroughly recommend this course to anyone involved in practice management.


To reserve your place on the next retreat go Joanna Taylor’s website.




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