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Habit Reversal Training

H there,

I would like to ask whether others on here have tried habit reversal training and what results they have had. Catherinem has been very helpful and recommended a book for me as I wish to try this method on my own, without any medical help, which has up until now been poor.

Any advice on HRT would be appreciated.

Regards, J.

3 Replies

Hi J,

My son has TS. We haven't tried HRT yet as his tics aren't too bad at the moment & he doesn't have any really persistent ones. There is a Canadian website called 'Lifes a Twitch' run by a psychologist who also has TS. He's written a book (Nix those tics) that includes a bit about HRT; it includes some handy charts to help you decide which tic to target first & gives good advice about what you can realistically expect. The book is fairly small and very easy to read and understand, although it can get a bit jolly in that north-American way in places! I think it must be self-published though as there wasn't an ISBN number and I had to order it through the website; I can't remember exactly but it was no more than £20 inc postage etc.

best of luck :)



Habit Reversal Therapy

What is HRT?

HRT is a behavioural therapy introduced in the 1970’s that aims to prevent tics by acting on the ‘premonitory urge’ associated with them. Many people experience this urge immediately before a tic occurs and it is often described as an unpleasant build up of pressure or an itch that can only be relieved by doing the tic. HRT works by replacing the tic with a less obvious movement called a ‘competing response’. This helps to break the connection between the premonitory urge and the tic, allowing some people to eventually overcome them.


I am surprised by what you say Seonaid. I thought TS was wholely unrecognised in the 70's so to find out HRT was introduced in the 1970's and there was active theraphy to treat habits is again surprising. I remember many sessions at Gt Ormond St hospital being interviewed by what I was told were psychiatrists and they were completely baffled by my condition. The research I have did a while back suggests that tics were considered a psychological reaction to some traumatic expereience and as such all that was said at the time is that no one knows what can be done about it. Was the HRT more related to OCD at that time than TS and me thinks maybe HRT was prevalent thought in America rather than in the UK at that time. I understand that huge build up of pressure before a tic, so for me I find it hard to imagine any words that can relieve me of that urge, I suppose it's like the urge for nicotin whereby if you can resist for five minutes the urge disappears, well I doubt it would disappear for me I think my head would explode. But you've given me something to think about and to look into because you never know what might help you, I only wish I had known about this many years ago, I'm only just starting to take an interest in my condition.


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