how CBT works
CBT is based on the premise that it's not just the stress and trauma, but how a person responds to stress and trauma, that determines their emotional course. A resistant response to tinnitus, while understandable, even heroic, keeps tinnitus front and center as the driving force behind your thoughts and actions. This reinforces your brain's habituation-blocking tinnitus vigil, moving you further from recovery and closer to hopelessness and despair. (See the Tinnitus Trap.)
CBT is a program for changing your response to tinnitus. You'll learn new skills—ways of thinking (cognitive), acting (behavioral) and attending (mindful)—to help you calm down, let go, and move on (Learn About CBT Skills).
Think of CBT as Physical Therapy for the Brain—a Set of guiding principles and Exercises That work together to promote habituation and recovery
CBT is practical, short-term and action-focused. You won't just talk about tinnitus. Successful outcome requires your active participation, your commitment to practicing and applying your new skills. Once you feel confident that you can independently handle your tinnitus, the sessions are faded out. Through commitment and courageous action, you can break the tinnitus distress cycle and regain control of your emotional future. You can let go of tinnitus and rejoin your life!
A Neutral Response is the Key to Recovery
Your response is made up of your thoughts, actions and attention in relation to tinnitus. A resistant response keeps you trapped (see the Tinnitus Trap.) A neutral response can break you out!
A neutral response to tinnitus sets the stage for habituation, by reducing acute distress, relaxing hypervigilance, and broadening attention out from tinnitus. You'll practice viewing tinnitus objectively, as a false alarm, a paper tiger, as any other sound that can be screened out and ignored.
You may say: “Of course, this makes sense, but how can I go against my nature and let go of tinnitus, a sound I resist with every fiber of my being?” You’re right. Tinnitus is undeniably upsetting. Changing your response to tinnitus is not easy. It takes time, patience, courage and commitment. But it is possible.
It's important to understand that you do not have to like tinnitus to habituate. Acceptance is not about approving, endorsing, or making friends with tinnitus. You will not have to take the improbable leap from negative to positive, but the achievable step from negative to neutral.