Misophonia

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content. " ~ Helen Keller

Misophonia is a neurological condition in which a specific region of the brain responds to ‘trigger’ stimuli in a way that involves profound physical, functional, and physiological, differences compared to that of a person without misophonia.  Triggers can be auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or olfactory, or in any combination. 

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Every person with misophonia has a unique set of triggers.  Living well with misophonia is possible through education, understanding, and treatment.  This is done with a multi-step treatment program which includes the Safe & Sound Protocol™ followed by either the Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy approach developed by Dr. Pawel Jastreboff or through Sequent Repatterning Therapy with the use of guided imagery (or hypnotherapy) as created by Chris Pearson, Certified Clinical Neuropsychotherapist, in collaboration with the work of Tom Dozier of the Misophonia Institute.

Safe & Sound Protocol™ (SSP)

Prior to any therapeutic or management approach, it is recommended that your child complete the Safe & Sound Protocol™.  Developed by Dr. Stephen Porges, the Safe & Sound Protocol™ (SSP) is a five-day auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience.  It stimulates the nervous system regulation by exercising and systematically challenging the auditory nervous system with specifically processed music to ‘retune’ the nervous system to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage.

This intervention exercises the neural network associated with extracting speech from background noise and helps reduce auditory hypersensitivities and selective sound sensitivity.  Based on Dr. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, by calming the physiological and emotional state, the door is opened for improved communication and more successful therapy.  It is not used as a stand-alone program but rather as part of other therapeutic interventions, depending on your child’s needs.

The Safe & Sound Protocol™ is a research-based therapy showing significant results in just five days in the following areas:

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  • Social and emotional difficulties
  • Auditory sensitivities
  • Anxiety and trauma related challenges
  • Inattention
  • Stressors that impact social engagement

This non-invasive intervention involves listening to music that has been processed specifically to “retune” the nervous system (regulating state) to introduce a sense of safety and the ability to socially engage.  This allows the child to better interpret not only human speech, but, importantly, the emotional meaning of language.  Once interpersonal interactions improve, spontaneous social behaviours and an enhanced ability to learn, self-regulate, and engage are often seen.

The purpose of the Safe & Sound Protocol™ is to initiate and access a physiological state conducive to well-being, positive engagement with others, and growth in learning and therapy.  It was created to help people learn to attain a grounded state where they feel safe, connected, calm, and social. 

By helping to access a calm and grounded state, the Safe & Sound Protocol™ promotes a neural platform for health, growth, and restoration.  Emotional and physiological state are critical to how we approach the task at hand.  So when a child has better state control, not only can they be more socially engaged, they are more open to therapy.  Better state regulation improves therapeutic outcomes. 

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Following completion of the Safe & Sound Protocol™, the implementation of management or treatment can commence.  If sound generators are prescribed, a low-cost 4-week trial can be arranged.  We will also create appropriate accommodations for home, school, or work.  Consultation with other professionals may be recommended as I adhere to a ‘multi-disciplinary’ approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Learn more about the Safe & Sound Protocol

Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy for Misophonia

This treatment has been effective for some individuals.  It was first introduced by Pawel J. Jastreboff, Ph.D., Sc.D., who coined the term “misophonia” in 2003. Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy for Misophonia, comprising a combination of sound therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, has produced positive results in 83 percent of cases.

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This modified TRT approach includes:

  • 1 extensive psychoeducation for the child and the family.
  • 2 use of sound generators (or music) set at the ‘mixing’ point of the trigger, and
  • 3 cognitive behavioural therapy strategies to reduce the emotional response to the triggers.

As with any therapy, it will take time for the strategies and new thought patterns to become habitual.  This therapy is suitable for children, teens, and young adults.  Creating positive associations with sound and practicing intentional rethinking of trigger sounds are the cornerstones of this approach.

It does not include the use of earplugs or music-streaming earbuds which will simply block out the trigger sounds.  This approach will only exacerbate the problem by making the auditory system more sensitive to the sounds.  Desensitization by exposure to the offending stimuli also has no documented evidence on sound tolerance.

Learn more about Modified Tinnitus Retraining Therapy for Misophonia

Sequent Repatterning Hypnotherapy (SRT): An Effective Treatment for Misophonia

Sequent Repatterning Hypnotherapy has been found to reduce the intensity of the misophonic response to trigger sounds.  Children are especially good at entering into a focused state of attention for the purposes of learning how to manage misophonia.  This unique evidence-based approach that was specifically designed for the treatment of misophonia.   It is suitable for individuals who are age 10 and older.  It also includes education for families managing misophonia.  Drawing on the latest research findings in neuroscience, neuro-education, and family counselling.  This fun and innovative approach utilizes stories, activities, guided imagery with a positive solution-oriented approach to managing misophonia.

Learn more about:  Sequent Repatterning Hypnotherapy from the Misophonia Institute

It must be noted that full cooperation, attendance, and follow-through on the part of the child and family is required for all therapies in order to increase their effectiveness.  This holds true, regardless of the treatment or management plan. 

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