Body expression skills training in a communication course for dental students
Background: In the health professions, competency in communication skills is necessary for the development of a satisfactory physician–patient interaction. Body expression is an important domain of τhe communication process, often not adequately addressed. The aim of this study was to describe the methodology and content of a pilot introductory training session in body expression for dental students before the beginning of their clinical training. Methods: The educational methods were based on experiential learning and embodied training, where the session’s content focused on five themes representing different phases of the dental treatment session. A questionnaire was distributed before and after the session to assess any changes in students’ self-perceptions in communication skills. Results: There were statistically significant improvements in the total values of the students self-perceptions of their communication skills obtained before and after the training and in specific elements such as small group situations, performing an interview, understanding the feelings of others and expressing one’s own feelings. Discussion: The dental students in the present study felt that this preclinical experiential learning session improved their communication skills. The feedback from this training experience will enable further development of an effective communication course for clinical dentistry.