Throughout Deborah’s career, she has always had a special interest in Health Psychology. In 2002 she developed an area of specialization and expertise in the field of Tinnitus Management. Up to that point the majority of tinnitus treatment focused on the ‘physical’ aspects of the condition in an attempt to address the ‘sound’, with many people hearing that they just needed to ‘live with it’. In reality, individuals experiencing tinnitus not only wish they could eliminate the sound but also want validation for the countless ways that it can impact other aspects of life: emotionally, cognitively, occupationally, socially, physically and for some, spiritually. To essentially learn to live alongside the sound, there needs to be guidance and a road map on how to do that.
Deborah created a Tinnitus Self-Management Program that was designed to teach self control techniques on how to reduce emotional distress, regain a sense of personal mastery and improve quality of life. With her colleague, Suzanne MacLaren, a Registered Audiologist with almost 35 years experience, they created a two day Tinnitus Management Workshop (TMW) unlike any that existed. The workshop was extremely comprehensive as it looked at the audiological, neurophysiological and psychological aspects of tinnitus. Though the workshop was a success and people consistently gave positive feedback on its’ value, it was difficult for many others to commit to a full weekend or the dates it was offered, or travel to participate from areas outside of Calgary.
As a result, Deborah is revising and creating the Hope For Tinnitus program (HFT) that will focus entirely on teaching people the principles and techniques of CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There is medical evidence-based research that supports the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to reduce tinnitus related distress. In fact, it is considered the ‘gold standard’ treatment approach (Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, 2014,Vol. 151(4) 533–541 © American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation 2014).
By developing skills to manage tinnitus, individuals can turn despair into hope and anguish into acceptance. Learning to control and change the meaning given to the sound and therefore the reactions to it, people report a sense of control again and ability to redirect their attention to the other aspects of life that are important.
What makes Deborah’s new Hope For Tinnitus program unique from traditional CBT is that it will combine those teachings with a workbook that she has written entitled – EARS: Excelling At Reclaiming Silence c. The workbook is practical and interactive and written in a style that will allow the reader to feel that they are working directly with Deborah. Though the workbook is a companion to the CBT program, the great news is that it also will be available to anyone who wants to work through it individually. This way, the important tools can be available no matter where you are living in the world! Additionally, for those who choose to do the workbook only, you could select different options to connect with Deborah via Skype or FaceTime to follow up or work through specific chapters in the workbook. All of these new and exciting changes will be posted when they are up and running – so drop me an email if you are interested in hearing more!
If you are reading this here on the SoulSpring Counselling website, please click the link below, which will take you directly to her tinnitus specific website called Hope For Tinnitus. This website is dedicated to her work with tinnitus and programs that are offered as well as other information.