Counselling and Therapy for Tic and Tourettes Disorders in children and teenagers

Tics and Tourette’s in children and teenagers

Tics, both vocal and physical, are very common in young children. 20% of children under seven experience tics, such as blinking often or clearing their throat. For most people, these don’t cause any issue and usually go away with age.

However, roughly 1 in 20 young people develop a more disruptive tic disorder, where they experience a persistent lack of control over their vocal and physical tics.

When a tic disorder or Tourette’s syndrome is present, your child may be struggling with the involuntary urges to perform their tics, leading to behaviour that appears disruptive in social or school settings but feels distressingly uncontrollable for the child or teenager.

If you have observed your child struggling with tics or Tourette’s, clinical psychology therapy for tic disorders could help. Effective habit reversal and behavioural therapies, used by highly experienced clinicians, are available at our clinic in the North West London area.

Tourettes-Tic disorders

How do I know if my child or teenager has tics or Tourette’s?

The most common presenting symptom of tics or Tourette’s is repetitive involuntary vocal or physical behaviours.

Common vocal tics include (but are not limited to):

  • Whistling.
  • Throat clearing.
  • Sniffing.
  • Coughing.
  • Tongue clicking.
  • Grunting.
  • Animal sounds.
  • Saying socially unacceptable words (swearing).
  • Repeating a sound, word or phrase.

Common physical tics include (but are not limited to):

  • Blinking.
  • Grimacing.
  • Shoulder shrugging.
  • Stamping.
  • Making obscene gestures.
  • Imitation.
  • Jumping.

Your child may also experience:

  • Being able to ‘hold in’ tics for a short time in certain situations.
  • May then experience an outburst of tics when they can be more relaxed.
  • That stressful situations exacerbate the tics.
  • Tics that occur in bouts (known as tic-attacks) separated by tic-free intervals.
  • 85% of children with tic disorders or Tourette’s also struggle with another condition such as ADHD, depression or anxiety.

Tic disorders or Tourette’s left unaided can cause a significant interruption to your child’s social life and can negatively impact your home life. Other conditions such as anxiety or depression may stem from the struggle of holding tics in or the fear of performing them. Seeking help is the best way to help a child struggling with tics or Tourette’s, so please get in touch if you believe your child struggles with any of the above symptoms.

How can I help my child or teenager with tics or Tourette’s?

If you have noticed the above symptoms in your child, we recommend you get in touch to book a free telephone consultation.

As a parent, it can be distressing to watch your child or teenager struggle with tics or Tourette’s. The good news is, there are evidence-based, modern and effective counselling and therapy methods for anxiety available in North West London with Harwood Child Psychology.

Our approach of using only rigorously tested and NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) approved treatments dramatically increases the chance of seeing real improvements in your child.

At Harwood Child Psychology, we offer effective therapies to help your child identify their tics and what triggers them. By altering the environment to reduce triggers and teaching relaxation and habit reversal techniques, we can assist your child in gaining more autonomy over their tic behaviours. We are also trained to deliver CBIT (Cognitive Behavioural Interventions for Tics), which is an evidence based approach to helping with tics and Tourette’s. We have good experience of helping young people to cope with their tic disorders.

We can also help treat co-existing disorders such as anxiety or depression, which may worsen your child’s tics, through talking therapies such as CBT.

In line with national scientific guidelines, treatment for tics and Tourette’s at Harwood Child Psychology is conducted with your child alongside family and school involvement. As a parent, you can follow your child’s progress and help them practice exposure and response prevention with their relaxation skills.

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Parents always want to help their child overcome their tics but may inadvertently worsen their behaviours or stress surrounding their tics. Parents are always involved in the treatment at Harwood Child Psychology to make sure everyone is working together effectively.

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We offer cost-effective, evidence-based treatment with a highly qualified clinical psychologist. You can be sure that your child or teenager is in safe hands. We pride ourselves on a high quality, warm and compassionate service that can help your son or daughter gain control over their tics.

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Harwood Child Psychology provides engaging and effective therapy for anxiety in Muswell Hill, Crouch End, Highgate, Hampstead, Finchley and the wider North West London area.

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