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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & tics


deby
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Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy help kids with tics?

How doe it work, what do they do at the session?

My son is 8 years old and I'm not sure if I should do that.

Some doctors say to try to ignore the tics, sending him to CBT maybe is worse.

What is your experience with CBT?

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Hi Deby

 

CBT is only indirectly helpful for tics, but it is not a "remedy" for tics. People who tic can be taught some suppression and /or substitution skills during CBT sessions

 

once again it also depends on what is causing the tics.....if a child has PANDAS and the tics are related to the infection, then only iradicating the infection and healing the damage caused by it will be effective

 

similarly with allergies etc....

 

for people with Tourette Syndrome tics, the ticcing is *involuntary* and so the amount of "control" that the individual has over them is very limited...sort of like stopping blinking or holding your breath....you can do it for a little bit but then you simply *have to*

 

CBT is more often used (and very successfully so) for the co-morbid conditions associated with tics like OCD etc

But trying to get someone who has involuntary neurological tics to stop ticcing via CBT would be very counterproductive IMHO. The only benefit, as mentioned above, is learning how to cope with tics in social environments by limited suppression or substitution, which again is a slippery slope as for TS individuals, the more you or they focus on the tic, the more it is triggered..............

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Hi-- My son is 8 and has TS (and I too have it). When he was first diagnosed I drove over an hour away to get him CBT b/c I was told it would help with the tics. I believe it was an entire waste of time and money and did nothing but inflame the tics. Having had the disorder my entire life (although not realizing until my son was diagnosed), I asked one of the psychologists after awhile how CBT could ever help with tics as they are not psychological and a real sensation really comes over the individual who needs to release the tic. It is like a very strong pressure in the body part ticcing. His response was it won't help with tics but with OCD. I agree it can help with OCD but I really feel that unless the person has a thought process behind the tic-- than it can't be helped with CBT. In other words, real OCD has an obsession and a compulsion which CBT can help to control but an actual sensory pressure from your mind can't be stopped by CBT. I also believe that if your child has multiple varying tics, like mine does, that habit reversal is also useless-- b/c if a tic changes every week you can't habit reverse 40 different tics. My son's tics change all the time and I can tell you although they are still prevelant they were at their worst when we dragged him to numerous docters and especially psychologists. He had nothing to talk about-- he wasn't stressed, etc . . . what was stressing him was all the effort to cure him. I know that the disorder is devastating and my other two children are already having signs of it. But, I can also tell you that I had it my whole life and, although I have it much less now, it does bother us parents more than it bothers thehn I can also tell you that it is a nuisance but not painful in any way. As for CBT I would save your money for awhile and see how things play out. The tics will wax and wane and hopefully they will be less rather than more. Take care. Karen

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Thank you for your advise, you are right, I've tried therapy and I think it is making things worse.

I'm going to try different approaches.

I think I need to concentrate to try to find the triggers, maybe going to a nutritionist/environmental doctor.

Thank you!

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Hi-- I find the things most helpful are focused activity. When my son is really bad I get clay and I feel the sensory effect of molding the clay helps. I also take him to the track and have him run-- running, jumping rope, swimming those types of activities seem to help. Try to do the activities when it is cool out so that the heat doesn't aggravate the TS. I also went recently to an environmental doctor who was listed in the Natural Treatment For Tourettes book. I drove over an hour away to really get absolutely no information and paid out of pocket $250.00 for that non-informative consult. I would first go to an allergist covered by your insurance. Get all the testing done and then take that info to an environmental doctor if you wish so you don't pay out of pocket for allergy testing. Also make sure you get referrals from people before you go to anyone-- don't just take a name from a book. The practice we drove to had not been updated since 1950 and was an utter waste of time and money. I was a little upset that this practice was listed in the Natural Treatments for TS book. It was not a place that should be referred to anyone. Although the doctor was very nice and intelligent-- he offered nothing in the way of advice or current treatments for TS. I can also tell you try to push it out to the end of school. This time of the year was the worst for my son last year and it is bad now this year. Hopefully with the end of school things will calm down a bit. I know it is utterly stressful and distressing and you are not alone in your mission to find cures and answers. Karen

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Hi Karen--I saw your note on having seen a physician who was included in my book, and feeling it was a waste. Would you mind sending me a PM and letting me know more about who you saw and what the problem was? I don't personally know all physicians who are included and haven't seen their offices. None of them are officially recommended as I recall, but they are all ones who others with TS had good experience with at some point--unless it is someone I am not thinking of at the moment. I'd like to look into it for when the book is due for a reprint.

 

Thank you--I'm sorry you didn't get the help you were looking for. I hope you find everything your son needs.

 

Best wishes, Sheila

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This is an interesting thread. I have recently contacted a counselor in our area who has TS himself. I was thinking of taking my 11 year old son to him in hopes of CBT. My sons tics are noticeable in times of silence (church) or times of stress. Most of the rest of the time they are very minimal. I was hoping CBT could help him. Now not so sure. My son is interested in meeting another person with TS. I think a professional male would be a good role model for him but I don't want to make him more stressed by going. He doesn't have concerns about his TS. He just rolls with the punches and keeps going....

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  • 1 month later...

My son,who is 8, found CBT to be very helpful to replace his tics with less intrusive ones. It did not help to minimize the frequency of the tics but we are doing many other treatments like, supplements, enzymes, and diet that are helping. The CBT therapy helped him to do the verbal component of his tics either to himself or very softly. This was a huge help as he was previously very loud and sometimes screeching. He can usually replace the motor tic with what looks like scratching. this is much more socially acceptable than previous tics. He feels much more comfortable with ticcing in public. I do think it's important to find a practitioner who is experienced with TS.

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