Chronic Illness – Case Study in Tinnitus

Tinnitus, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Immunodeficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), and Environmental Illness can be grouped in a class of chronic illness where traditional medicine may not or cannot help an individual get well. Patients are told on a regular basis “there is nothing you can do” or “just learn to live with it”. Despite tests results that come up negative for physical causes, each individual’s experience is real. The pain, anxiety, depression, panic, and torture they are experiencing is very real and, when left untreated, only increases in severity and may end in suicidal ideations.

Everyone deserves a chance to experience life to the best of their ability. To date, the most effective and successful therapeutic intervention I have experienced is hypnoanalysis using the CARPeTS model. By definition, hypnoanalysis is the process by which the therapist listens to a client after bypassing the critical faculty of the mind and is allowed to find the causes of the client’s presenting problems and symptoms. The key is to utilize hypnoanalysis to facilitate change and encourage healing. The hypnotherapist strives to achieve physical, emotional, and/or mental health in individuals who fail to respond to other therapeutic interventions. Healing is defined as the reduction or elimination of the emotional response to symptoms rather than a cure, which is the actual physical remission of symptoms. (Hogan, 2001) How do you accomplish such a goal? Through a thorough therapeutic intervention including an in depth Case Analysis, Regression Therapy, Parts Therapy, Time Track Therapy, and Suggestive Therapy…CARPeTS.

Tinnitus Case Study: Larry

Case Analysis

I first spoke to Larry on the phone. He had been suffering from severe tinnitus for approximately six months when his sister-in-law stumbled upon hypnotherapy as a treatment method. Since Larry had exhausted all other avenues including his internist, ENT doctor, psychiatrist, and neurologist he was willing to give it one Silencil last try. He was still seeing his medical doctors regularly, particularly his psychiatrist who prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. “I guess we should at least try to meet since I was going to kill myself anyway. So if it doesn’t work, I’ll just go back to the original plan.”

Prior to meeting with Larry in person for our first session, I asked for a case history in his own words to describe his experience with tinnitus up to 18 months prior to onset. He was to note any major life changes such as divorce, death, physical trauma, abuse, and career issues. He was to also include desired outcomes for therapy and current major stressors, worries, fears, and upsets in life. Upon meeting in person for the our first session, we spent approximately 90 minutes on gathering information and history ranging from relationships and how Larry perceived himself to career path. The last 30 minutes allowed Larry to experience positive regression. The client was returned to 3 different events where he felt loved, accomplished a goal, and overcame and obstacle to succeed. Larry “woke” from a trance state with tears in his eyes and said, “That was the first time in 6 months my body had some relaxation in it.”

Now that I had a thorough case history and as complete an understanding as possible of my client, it was time to analyze that information. Who comes up regularly? Any inconsistencies? What are the common themes throughout the client’s life? Are there any precursors to the presenting problem such as stress, panic disorder, anxiety, depression, and/or emotional problems?

Larry’s story was not surprising when it resulted in the presenting problem of tinnitus. Larry had a history of always getting the short end of the stick. From career to family to relationships, “Life just isn’t fair”, as Larry put it so simply. At work, Larry believed that the boss was always jealous of his ability and therefore held him down, never allowing for advancement. When Larry did leave for a better, higher paying position, he felt that his next boss stole his ideas and took the credit for himself. When Larry worked for a boss he respected, he was then “too old” and not as marketable as he once was, so his age was therefore hindering his career beyond his control.

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