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Guided Relaxation for tics

Posted on 26 March 2018


In this article Liz Murray, a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered psychologist, explains how she was inspired to create a recorded guided relaxation for people with tics and Tourette Syndrome (TS).

Liz delivers behavioural therapy for people across the UK who have a diagnosis of tics or Tourette Syndrome, via an online platform called telemedicine. Liz also have TS herself and here she explains how the idea for her guided relaxation - At ease with your tics: A Guided Relaxation - came about.


"After taking part in a mindfulness practice session called *‘Soften, soothe and allow’ and attending the behavioural therapy training for tics organised by Tourettes Action. I attended an eight-week mindfulness course. While generally beneficial, I found it difficult to stay still in sessions.  I found that the mindfulness practices had little or no effect on my tic activity.  During the mindfulness ‘soften, soothe and allow’ pilot session I took part in I was asked to focus on a health issue. I focused on a tic which happened to be active and was surprised to find by the end of the 20 minute session that the frequency and intensity of the tic had reduced.  I then started to wonder if a relaxation specifically designed for someone with tics could be created.


Working with a friend Betty, who is a retired nurse and meditation teacher, we formulated the design and syntax to be used during the relaxation. Another friend Ray, has a recording studio, and therefore, with Betty as narrator, we were able to make a recording of the guided relaxation in March 2016. This pilot recording was given to a small group of adults with a diagnosis of tics or Tourette syndrome who listened and gave vital feedback.  They all welcomed that a guided relaxation for tics was being developed. 


More work on the script followed and during some research on mindfulness I came across the work of Dr Tamara Russell, a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist who had written a book in 2016 called Mindfulness in Motion.  After a productive telephone discussion about our guided relaxation for tics, two of the concepts described in her book were incorporated into our script: setting ‘intention’ and exploring neural pathways from within the body during meditation. 


The editing of the script for the relaxation was edited by a group of psychologists working in the world of tics and Tourette syndrome; Dr Seonaid Anderson, Dr Tara Murphy, Jolande van de Griendt and Dr Cara Verdellen.  As professionals with specific knowledge and expertise on Tourette Syndrome they offered advice, encouragement and were involved in editing the script.  The script now fits with current research and practice in the treatment of tics of tolerating the urge to tic and stress reduction. Our team decided that the recorded script should be called ‘A Guided Relaxation’ as it engages the thought process while a meditation is more about giving attention to one thing such as the breath.


The growth of the guided relaxation has been a lengthy process developing slowly before a final recording in January 2018.  The work has thrived on the goodwill of everyone willing to contribute their diverse areas of experience and expertise freely in the hope that the recording can add to the strategies that can help people manage their tics.  The guided relaxation has been gifted to Tourettes Action. 


If you wish to download the MP3 of the guided relaxation this can be bought for a small fee at the Tourettes Action shop. Please don’t forget to also complete the feedback form about the guided relaxation – this will help us gather information about the usefulness of the guided relaxation.


*‘Soften, soothe and allow’ mindfulness practice by Prof Kristin Neff, University of Texas




Liz Murray, Elizabeth Craig, Attic Studio, Glentrool, Antony Gouldsbrough, Riverside Studios, Belgium.Dr Seonaid Anderson, Dr Tara Murphy, Dr Tamara Russell, Jolande van de Griendt and Dr Cara Verdellen.

© At ease with your tics: A Guided Relaxation 2018.




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Guided Relaxation for tics