My Deaf studies DipHE qualification, together with 15 years’ experience working with people who are Deaf and hard of hearing, has given me specialist knowledge with regards to deaf awareness techniques, BSL communication and also the technical workings of the ear.
I specialise in making hypnosis accessible to those who identify as being hearing impaired and also to those who have a Deaf identity and use BSL to communicate. In addition, my specialism includes working with tinnitus clients and also those with hyperacusis. My work with a tinnitus client has recently featured in The Mail on Sunday YOU magazine health pages (1st February 2015).
Tinnitus can be an incredibly distressing affliction and can have a severe impact on the lives of individuals, their family and friends.
Common impacts include feelings of persecution, hopelessness, inability to cope and behaviour such as avoiding certain situations, disturbed sleep patterns, using constant background noise and so on. This can have a huge impact across all areas of life: for example, relationships, work, social-life and relaxation. It can seem so automatic and inevitable. How despairing.
The good news is that modern scientific understanding of tinnitus offers real hope of a solution and the evidence fits beautifully within therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy. Without blinding you with science just yet, the key to dealing with tinnitus is in understanding how awareness of sound is promoted (in the central auditory system) by the emotional response we have to it (in our brain’s limbic system). Sound filters work by de-prioritising less meaningful and non-threatening noise and relegating it to the background.
For example, consider those who live next to a railway line. House visitors may find it unfathomable that anyone can live with the noise of the 12.52 from Paddington whizzing past - whereas those who live there don’t even notice it anymore. Their filter system has learnt to relegate the noise to the background. This is called habituation.
Sounds easy, right? Well no…of course not. With tinnitus, this system has gone awry and it can take time and effort to put it right…but hypnotherapy can absolutely help with that. A thorough assessment process highlights what tinnitus means to you specifically and together we design and agree a therapy plan that undermines how the sound is promoted by the central auditory system. We use hypnosis and other methods to equip you with tools, techniques and skills which put you in control. I know how important this is and I am utterly committed to supporting you every step of the way.
Hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound)
The mechanisms surrounding hyperacusis are considered very similar to those which promote tinnitus and the impact can be equally distressing. Ordinary everyday sounds that most people would consider unobtrusive can seem unbearable and intolerable to people with this condition. Extreme hyperacusis is sometimes described as physical pain.
Often, people with hyperacusis also have tinnitus (although the opposite is not true) and their close connection means that, broadly speaking, similar strategies can be applied to both.
Complementary NOT alternative
Please note I am not a medical practitioner and so do not work with clients on what may or may not be causing the sound - it is important clients consult their GP prior to seeing me and have a medical diagnosis. Similarly, I of course cannot offer guarantees of a cure. As I hope you will have ascertained from my outline above, success very much depends upon your approach and commitment to the techniques and interventions. However, I do guarantee to work with you to the best of my ability to equip you with everything you need to maximise the likelihood of success.
Accessible hypnosis for people who are hard of hearing or Deaf
I use my communication and deaf awareness skills to work with clients in one of two ways.
1. Eyes-open hypnosis. It is not necessary to have your eyes closed during hypnosis. You will be surprised at how effectively you can focus on the meaning of my words or signs and actively engage your imagination so that you respond hypnotically. Hypnosis for children already uses this approach.
2. Eyes-closed hypnosis. Believe it or not you can experience hypnosis with your eyes closed – it’s all about the timing. We will use the mechanisms that enable people to nod their heads, raise their hands/arms, communicate and open their eyes whilst still in hypnosis.
Will you be able to do that? Yes, I believe you will. Evidence shows that hypnosis is a learnable skill – everyone can do it with a little practice and by adopting a positive, expectant mind-set. That will be the same for d/Deaf people too. Instead of the FREE 30 minute telephone conversation I give my hearing clients, I offer a FREE 30 minute face-to-face meeting with my d/Deaf clients so that I can explain this further and you get to try it out yourself. Contact me HERE to arrange.