Face-to-face behavior therapy is a first-line treatment for tic disorders. But not everyone can make it to a psychologist or other skilled therapist on a weekly basis. Treatment by videoconferencing (like Skype) works just as well, but in the U.S. at least, many insurers will not cover it. Here are some additional options for those interested in online or portable electronic tools to help with tics.
TicTrainer™ is a web tool meant to help you build your ability to fight tics. It requires someone (like a parent or knowledgeable friend) to monitor you for tics during sessions. Dr. Black developed TicTrainer™ as a research tool to test whether a very minimal implementation of exposure and response prevention (ERP) would help with tic disorders. We have not tested it yet, so we don’t know if it works. But hey, it’s free! The software behind it is described here.
A more polished online tool implementing ERP is “BT-Coach,” a smart phone app in which the person with tics monitors himself / herself. It was developed by expert behavior therapists and uses a more traditional ERP approach. It’s described here.
TicHelper is an online tool that administers CBIT in a more conventional manner. It was developed by expert CBIT therapists and includes informational videos as well as individualized treatment exercises. It is pay-to-play, but the cost is very modest compared to typical face-to-face CBIT.