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Oh What A Tangled (Neural) Web We Weave: A First-Person Account of Tourette Syndrome

Oh What A Tangled (Neural) Web We Weave: A First-Person Account of Tourette Syndrome

by Duncan McKinlay

Hearing insights from individuals with Tourette Syndrome (TS) can provide direction for future study. Someone able to offer an amalgam of both subject and specialist, however, is uncommon. The author, a 35-year old psychologist with TS himself, chronicles almost 30 years of experience with the disorder. Observations are drawn from personal writings, previous research, and clinical experience with the target population. An experiential recount of both premonitory urge sensations and tics provides clues as to possible learned aspects of this disorder which sculpt underlying neurological dysregulation into the phenomenology we know as TS. This understanding of TS (termed the Incidental Associations Theory of Tic Formation) anticipates the great utility of behavioural treatments. The author describes what a behavioural treatment feels like, factors enhancing his own success with it, and finishes with a more ‘gestalt’ glimpse into the strain of living with TS and associated conditions. The role learning theory is proposed to play in this neurodevelopmental disorder aids in demystifying known course, appearance, and treatment. Future studies should more fully explore this relationship. Misperceptions of diagnosed individuals are decreased with a fuller understanding of the day-to-day impact of living with TS and associated conditions. Clinical care is enhanced with the use of Habit Reversal Training (HRT). Mindfulness techniques may also be useful in treatment.

Journal of Clinical Psychology Practice 2010

Brake Shop Publications


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