MBTSR: The Online Decision

How a tinnitus online course reaches those who might not benefit from in-person tinnitus group care.

EarPuzzleCreated in 2009, the MBTSR curriculum was initially designed as a group, in-person skill building course. Each class brought people with tinnitus in the Bay Area community together for 2 hours per week over an 8-week period to practice the skills needed to support change in a person’s relationship to living with tinnitus. The research results were astounding, as I literally watched the healing transformation in participants each week.

So when I began designing the MBTSR online course, I was worried that an online course—where the weekly MBTSR classes were practiced separately, in the privacy of each person’s home — would not be attractive to people. But as the weeks passed by and people with tinnitus began taking the class, I began hearing encouraging statements from participants. For example:

“The MindfulTinnitusRelief.com course is warm and inviting and gives the tinnitus patient an honest opportunity, without false hope, to feel better. I also like the way the modality appears to encompass CBT and Buddhism with its mindfulness main principles.”

That’s when I began to realize that there are many people who — due to geographical distance, demanding work schedules, health issues, and discomfort participating in a live group setting — would now have easy and comfortable access to a novel new treatment for tinnitus.

Why Go Online: Pragmatic Benefits

•  Less expensive per participant
•  Reusable components
•  Easier recruitment
•  Available to more people with less burden
•  Serious dissemination

Why Go Online: Effectiveness

•  Facilitates daily learning and practice
•  More effective monitoring
•  Easier faster participant contact
•  Simplified record keeping
•  Reach a different audience

Why Go Online: Challenges

•  Less personalization
•  Less personal contact / sense of commitment
•  Only works for skills interventions
•  Not, e.g., acupuncture

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