I had the joy of a dental check up this week, and was reminded again of the pyschology of art versus the psychology of dentistry!
I have been visiting the same dental practice since 1982, although three of my particular dentists have come and gone, retired, or moved to new areas, and of course the practice has had new staff, new furniture and carpets in the waiting room, and been painted in new colour schemes. I expect that, and welcome the changes….well…. some of them. I noticed this time that the lovely bright painting that they used to have in the waiting room some years ago has been replaced with a clincal looking noticeboard advertising the prices for whitening teeth. Yeh, its a business, that’s expected, but a shame since most people really don’t like going to the dentist (infact half an hour beforehand I had been to the bank and mentioned conversationally in passing to the bank clerk who I know quite well “I’m off to the dentist now!” and she immediately backed away from me as if I’d zapped her with a cattle prod! “Don’t mention that!” she said with a sour face, and I laughed and said “Its ME whose going to the dentist, not you!” and she looked aghast and said “I can’t stand the thought of it!”).
When I got to the dentist, who is a lovely person, a very friendly and caring woman, I asked her if dentists were taught dentist psychology, and she said they were, to the point of dealing with patients. I told her that I’ve been going to that practice since 1982 and had seen changes in the years I’ve been going there, but as an artist I found some of the decisions strange. As a business woman, I totally understood that the blank wall infront of the patients chair would have adverts for teeth whitening, but as someone who knew that people get anxious, thought that it would be far better if there was something on the wall to take peoples minds off the dentist part. Infact, it would be better on the ceiling, instead of looking at the bumps in the plastering! My dentist knows I’m an artist and said “We’ll have to get you to paint ‘Where’s Wally’ on the ceiling! but they wouldn’t let us because of ‘health and safety’. She then said that when she moved into that particular room, that the one thing that she specifically wanted, and asked for, was the chair facing the other way towards the window. Since that was the room that I used to first go to, right back in 1982, I totally agreed with her. Through the window there is a tree, and daylight, and you can look at the branches and the leaves on the tree and lose your mind in the blue sky.
So, which way does the chair face in that room? At the window, for the patients to look at the sky?
No, at the wall, where the clinical adverts are!
Sometimes ‘health and safety’ might keep the majority of us safe, but at the end of the day we are people, and we like to look at nice things. Given the choice of a blank wall, or a window, which would you rather look at?
Yeh, I know, me too! lol 🙂