Habit reversal versus supportive psychotherapy for Tourette's disorder: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Psychiatry. 2003 Jun;160(6):1175-7. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.160.6.1175.


Objective: The authors investigated the efficacy of habit reversal for Tourette's disorder, which is characterized by multiple motor and vocal tics.

Method: Thirty-two patients with Tourette's disorder were randomly assigned to 14 sessions of either habit reversal or supportive psychotherapy. Habit reversal consisted of awareness training, self-monitoring, relaxation training, competing response training, and contingency management. Changes in severity of Tourette's disorder and psychosocial impairment were investigated over the course of the 14-session treatment for the 29 patients who completed at least eight treatment sessions.

Results: In contrast to the 13 patients in the supportive psychotherapy group, the 16 patients in the habit reversal group improved significantly. The habit reversal patients remained significantly improved over pretreatment at 10-month follow-up.

Conclusions: Habit reversal may be an effective behavioral treatment for Tourette's disorder.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tics / diagnosis
  • Tics / therapy
  • Tourette Syndrome / psychology
  • Tourette Syndrome / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome