Tinnitus is associated with noise and sounds a person experiences in their head or ear. The ringing or hissing may be constant or intermittent and can vary in loudness from mild to extreme. There are many possible causes of the condition, but they are very hard to pinpoint. More problematic than the noise itself are the reactions some individuals have to it. Sometimes tinnitus is so upsetting that it has lead to major anxiety, depression and even suicide.
Tinnitus has baffled the medical and psychological communities for years with no apparent cure and marginal success with remedies designed to alleviate suffering.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped a great many people reduce anxiety and depression associated with numerous medical conditions and symptoms including irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headaches, nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for cancer and any number of pain related problems.
Relatively recently, a number of researchers have reported the successful treatment of tinnitus using a systematic, structured, cognitive behavioral approach. Clients report a reduction and sometimes an elimination of the noise level and a substantial decrease in how much they are bothered by the noise and the degree to which it interferes with their normal daily activities.
While I certainly do not claim to be an expert on Tinnitus, I am an expert in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and have used it to help reduce the suffering of many clients, even when other approaches have not helped much.
I am using a CBT protocol with a Tinnitus client now and have reached out to local medical professionals in the community to develop and coordinate a comprehensive treatment program for clients suffering from Tinnitus.
Like most cognitive behavioral treatments, the approach is relatively short term, focused and customized to each individual client. The basic treatment components include training in self-awareness, staying in the present moment, developing relaxation, concentration, attention and focusing skills, and a form or “desensitizing” the person to the sounds they hear. Clients learn to change their perception of the meaning of the symptoms and the condition, view it as annoying but not devastating and develop hope that they can live normal, healthy and productive lives with and without the condition.
Clients learn how NOT to give themselves a problem about their problem, and as a result, are far less disturbed and upset.
Most clients are seen once a week for 12-20 weeks and given specific skills to practice between sessions.
For more information about the Cognitive Behavioral Treatment approach to Tinnitus and other conditions, visit www.cognitivetherapy.cc .