Misophonia Therapy – tame your triggers

What is Misophonia?

Misophonia is derived from two Greek words and literally means a “hatred of sound.” and the disorder was first given the name in 2001.

Misophonia Symptoms are not just irritating sounds

Many people get irritated by certain sounds, e.g. a pen tapping on desk or someone chewing, or bursting bubble gum or lots of other irritating sounds.  For anyone with a misophonia disorder, however those sounds are more than just irritating — they experience a very strong emotional reaction to the point where they feel rage, anger, anxiety, disgust, resentment and physiological distress.  For some sufferers they may even think about or resort to physically abusing the person making the sound.  People with misophonia often find themselves isolated due to avoidance of situations where they may encounter the stimulus that triggers their reaction.  It is quite common for instance that people with a misophonia chewing trigger to eat alone rather than share a meal with family or friends.

Misophonia Triggers – Sounds, sights and more.

It is a condition where a person has a severe sensitivity to specific misophonia trigger sounds, which are generally soft sounds, but they can also have an extreme sensitivity to visual images, and more rarely, to touch, certain tastes. or aromas.  People who suffer with misophonia often report that they feel the person is intentionally making the sound, even though rationally when they are away from their misophonia triggers they know that the person is not seeking to deliberately upset them.

Flight or Fight Response

Part of our brain, the Reptilian part which is the oldest developed part of the brain has been keeping us safe since we first evolved.  In the modern world it still does so and when it recognises what it considers a threat then it triggers our defence mechanisms which result in a fight or flight response.

The elements of misophonia

The traditional thinking on misophonia is that a “trigger” sound causes an emotional reaction in a person.  Recent research however has shown that there are several elements in the process from experiencing the stimulus to feeling the emotion.  The response begins in the sub-conscious mind and the emotional response you feel is already underway before your conscious mind is aware.  This is the resaon why people who have Misophonia find it difficult to control their emotions.

The Misophonia Model

As a misophonia specialist the current model of Misophonia that I work with using SRT (Sequent Re-patterning Therapy (SRT) has five components and of those, three are key elements.

The Trigger

Like all sensory inputs, what is usually termed the trigger enters our subconscious; the sensory signals are processed in the limbic system of the brain.  The limbic system does not think – it is part of our biology and not what we consider to be our thinking self.

The 5 Elements of the Misophonia Model from Subconscious to Conscious awareness.

The Physical Reflex

Through an acquired link a physical reflex is initiated – this can be a muscle jerk in the shoulders, or an arm or leg, for instance.  It might also be a much less obvious reflex, but it seems the physical reflex can be identified in an overwhelming majority of those with misophonia.

The Emotional Response

At this stage the misophonia sequence enters into the conscious domain – we can be aware of the reflex but the behaviour – the way we respond – is already in process by now.  The emotional state that occurred as a biological process now becomes a conscious feeling – this is what psychologists call affect: the thinking experience of feeling emotions.

Every one of the 5 individual components as shown in the diagram above must exist before the misophonia process can be completed. Each time the sequence is experienced it becomes stronger and the links become more firmly established. The way a person feels and behaves becomes a stronger and stronger default response.

Sequent Re-patterning Therapy

Taming your Misophonia Triggers.

Sequent Repatternign Therapy for misophonia

Sequent repatterning is a therapy framework, which means it is not a rigid protocol but a series of interventions that can be tailored to an individual’s needs. It is divided into three elements, usually called a Pre-therapy Phase, a Foundation Phase and an Active Therapy Phase.

Pre-therapy Phase.

This phase includes completing a detailed assessment of your misophonia so that we can establish the triggers, your responses and arrive at a baseline before commencing active therapy.

Foundation Phase

We then complete a Foundation session which allows you to experience some of the therapeutic methods we will use during the therapy, creating motivation for change and an optimistic view of your future.

Active Therapy

This phase usually consists of 8 therapy sessions where we will meet weekly, but may be varied as individual needs dictate.  You will also be expected to undertake inter-sessional activities designed to complement the active therapy and empower you with tools and techniques which will assist you in future life, helping you create a new outlook on life and a way of dealing and coping with life’s ups and downs.

Sequent?  Re-Patterning?

You may be wondering what the terms Sequent and Re-Patterning mean?

Sequent refers to the way the therapy progresses, that is, a linked series of contiguous steps.  Each session links to the earlier interactions between client and therapist in a contiguous way, paving the way for what is still to come.   Re-patterning refers to the way we modify those subconscious patterns It is called repatterning because we don’t remove the existing patterns of behaviour, leaving a void.  To do so would leave the possibility that the old patterns could be re-activated in the future, maybe through trauma or stress.  Instead. we modify the existing patterns to overwrite the emotional learning with new patterns, using something called memory re-consolidation.

Memory re-consolidation

The deep and unconscious drive to react to misophonia stimuli that is present in the existing patterns is replaced.  Using a process known as memory reconsolidation, a fundamental aspect of the brain’s neuroplasticity can be a powerful part of this transformational change process.  How this is effectively achieved is a very personal process and is unique to each person.

Do you need help for Misophonia?

As a certified Sequent Re-patterning Therapist and misophonia specialist I help people with Misophonia, both in the UK and Internationally,  If you would like to find out more about SRT and how it may help you please go to my contact page  where you may book a free consultation or call me.

Note:  The entire content of this web-site is designed for information purposes only and is not designed to replace your health care professional or treatments they provide. You must not rely on any of the information in this website to diagnose any condition.  It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for initial diagnosis and treatment.