Dealing with Difficult Patients

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Steven J. Ceresnie, PhD

Kimberly Werth, RDH, MA, LLPC

Course Overview

A basic rule of practice is that 20% of our patients occupy 80% of our time. Someone once said, “The world is an outpatient psychiatric ward.” These difficult patients make up 20% of our practice and provoke anger, stress, and worry. How can we maintain our professionalism and not fall into the communication traps set by these patients?

This course will help the dental practitioner identify, describe, and develop strategies to positively deal with difficult patients. Through discussions and small group activities, participants will enhance their understanding and communication skills which will contribute to a more positive climate in their practice. Please consider bringing two sample cases (successful and unsuccessful) associated with your efforts to deal with difficult patients for discussion.

Course Objectives

At the completion of the course participants will be able to:

  • Identify the types of difficult patients
  • Recognize the psychological characteristics of difficult patients
  • Discuss communication strategies to effectively manage the psychological characteristics of difficult patients
  • Develop coping skills to maintain a professional balance in the face of provocative patients expressing strong emotions
  • Adopt flexible interpersonal skills to meet the demands of the diverse patient population


University of Detroit Mercy Dental Corktown Campus, Detroit, MI


Dentists - $125; Allied - $75 (Includes a light snack and refreshments)

If you choose to pay for a continuing education course by check, please note that the check must be received by UDM within ten (10) days of registration. If the check is not received within ten (10) days of registration, we will assume that you are no longer interested in the course and will remove you from the course roster and you will forfeit your held seat. If you register less than ten (10) days prior to the start of a course, payment will be accepted up to the course start time. If additional time is required, please contact 313-494-6626 prior to registering to make a payment arrangement.


6:00 PM to 9:00 PM; Registration table opens half an hour before the course begins.

CDE Credits

3 hours (Lecture)

Registration Policy

For your convenience you may register up until 3:00pm on the day prior to the start of the course with no additional charge. An additional non-refundable fee of $20 dollars per person, per course will be assessed to any registrations received after 3:00pm the day prior to a course or to any same day or walk in registrations.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

A full refund less $25 will be granted if notification of cancellation is received by the Institute for Advanced Continuing Dental Education office two weeks (14 or more days) prior to the start of the course. If a cancellation is received less than two weeks (13 or less days) prior to the start of this hands-on course, no refund will be granted. Refunds cannot be given for same day cancellations or no-shows.

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