The Wall Street Journal ran a good article on the use of behavioral therapy, also known as habit reversal training. Several years ago, I had a chance to interview Nathan Azrin, PhD, the pioneer who developed this approach more than 30 years ago. He found it very useful for some participants and explained he was frustrated by the lack of interest from the medical community.
Studies on behavioral therapy for Tourette syndrome have been small and somewhat conflicting. New research has been completed that has put the focus back on this technique. It requires training and effort, as the person is taught to move in such a way that the tic that usually occurs is instead impeded and cannot be completed. The therapy is not more effective than medication, but does not have the side effects.
ACN recommends that the most logical approach is to first search for and find the biological or other causes of the tics and aim to eliminate those. Yet that is not always successful or feasible, and techniques such as this are certainly worth considering. For the right person, behavioral therapies can be a great tool. The recent study described in the news report was for youngsters nine years of age and older.
See the Wall Street Journal article.