Second (E-)dition Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms by B. Duncan McKinlay, PhD, C.Psych

Second (E-)dition Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms by B. Duncan McKinlay, PhD, C.Psych

Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide for Young People is now an e-book!

Special Needs Book Review wants to announce the Second (E-)dition: Re-edited and revised with new content  of Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide for Young People by B. Duncan McKinlay, Ph.D., C.Psych. His book shares management techniques, teaches behavioral treatments (habit reversal training, CBIT), fosters a positive attitude, and provides hope for families and individuals who want to get tic symptoms under control.

Dr. Dunc., as this psychologist with Tourette syndrome from London, Ontario, Canada is often called, wrote the first edition of Nix Your Tics in 2008. We have been reading and re-reading the first edition of Nix Your Tics because we have two family members with Tourette syndrome (TS). Our review of the first edition is here.

Living with Tourette syndrome has many challenges.  Like autism spectrum disorder, Tourette syndrome manifests itself differently for each individual. Also a majority of individuals with Tourette syndrome have symptoms of other disorders or conditions that may be comorbid with Tourette syndrome:

  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Mood disorders such as depression and Bipolar Disorder
  • Non-OCD anxiety disorders

A significant subset of children with Tourette syndrome also have fine motor control and visual-motor integration impairment; therefore, a resource like Nix Your Tics that can help individuals with TS is indispensable as they have so many other challenges.

“Empowering! Dr. McKinley, through his own personal and professional experiences, makes tic management understandable and he does so in a humorous, yet sensitive way. It’s a must-read for kids and adults with TS.”

— Douglas W. Woods, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, Author of “Managing Tourette Syndrome

In Nix Your Tics readers find strategies individuals with Tourette syndrome  can use to manage their tics more effectively. It is clearly written, engaging and provides all the essential guidance to help folks with TS to understand the principles of habit reversal, or comprehensive behavioural intervention for tics.  With some guidance from clinicians, many with TS will be able to use the strategies in Nic Your Tics and reduce their tics. Kids 10 years and up are able to read this user-friendly, self-help book.

From Dr. McKinlay’s web site we can read his explanation about the behavioral treatments he wrote about in Nix Your Tics, “Thinking of tics in Tourette syndrome as “involuntary” is sometimes confusing since it is known that most people with Tourette can develop some degree of control over their symptoms using behavioural treatments like habit reversal training or the Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT).  People with Tourette syndrome vary in their capacity to suppress (from seconds to hours at a time), and may seek a secluded spot to release their symptoms after delaying them in school or at work. Typically, tics increase as a result of tension or stress, and decrease with relaxation or concentration on an absorbing task.

Tics can be managed with medication and/or with the aforementioned alternative behavioural treatments – habit reversal training or CBIT. CBIT combines habit reversal training with psychoeducation, relaxation techniques, social support, and functional interventions to provide an alternative treatment for tics that has been found to be as effective as pharmacotherapy.”

This technique allows a person to make tics of their choosing finally just go away… for good! The author has used this method to get rid of tics which had bothered him for years and were wearing his body out.

Excerpt – Nix Your Tics – End of Introduction

I’m going to share that powerful technique with you in this book, because I wish people had been on the ball enough to give me a book like this when I was your age! It sure would have saved me a lot of grief. I wasn’t a freak, neither are you, we don’t have devils in our heads, and those tics ain’t as tough as I once thought they were. I learned to take ‘em. If you want, you can too. Here’s how…

~ Dr. Dunc.

What is NEW in This Second (E-)dition of Nix Your Tics

  • Illustrated,  written in a conversational, humorous, and to-the-point style
  • New section: Starve that Tic!
  • Materials designed to both educate and provide inspiration precede, and are interspersed within, treatment suggestions
  • Other excellent resources for those with tics are also listed
  • Handy ‘back-of-the-book’ materials: quick treatment summary, worksheets, and a ‘Competing Response Catalogue’
  • Book also applicable to those coping with other habits, trichotillomania, and stutteringLife's a Twitch name of  Dr. B. Duncan McKinlay, Psychologist (‘Dr. Dunc’)'s website.
  •  Interactive widgets permit completion of steps & tracking of progress from right within the book!
  • New integration with web-based content, including support groups and the online, Nix Your Tics! Facebook community!
  • All-new multimedia elements and summaries to enhance engagement & accessibility!
  • A 2012 audio interview with Dr. Dunc has been embedded into the book, accompanied by a slideshow of pictures taken from the Life’s A Twitch! website!
  • Supports both landscape (iPad, Mac) & portrait (iPad) orientations

Excerpt from Nix Your Tics

Step Four – Starve That Tic! Page 37


  1. Get wise to where and when your target Tic is milking the most attention, and from whom.
  2. Figure out why your target Tic gets such good meals in those hangouts.
  3. Carry on with life as usual whenever the Tic makes its presence known.
  4. Fight the tight.
  5. Where you breathe and the speed is important too.
  6. Breathe in, breathe out, sit quietly for a count of five.
  7. Practice makes perfect.
  8. Progressive muscle relaxation.

Just like you, a Tic’s gotta eat –and attention and stress are a Tic’s bread and butter.  This step, then, is all about putting your Tics on a strict starvation diet.  Let’s see how tough they are once we’ve drained away all their fuel!

Let’s tackle attention first:

Get wise to where and when your target Tic is milking the most attention, and from whom (hint:  those ‘hangouts’ you detected in the last section are favourites for a reason – they’re usually its best feeding  grounds).

Next, figure out why your target Tic gets such good meals in those hangouts. Reactions are the most obvious place to start – and I don’t just mean other people’s reactions either.  Your reactions are in fact the sweetest fruit of all to a Tic.  Ever notice how Tics tend to go on holiday only once you’ve started to get used to them? Only to be replaced (to our horror) by some fresh new  torment? This is why. The more emotional you stay, the better those Tics continue to eat.

Nix Your Tics arms the individual with Tourette with tips on how to tell normies (folks that do not have tic symptoms) about TS and tics, which will, in turn make his life better. Less stress usually means fewer tics!

Our daughter, Pierrette, owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. and mom of three, has Tourette syndrome and, like Dr. McKinlay, was only diagnosed with TS when she was 19 years old. She unknowingly used some of the “Nix” strategies to function in social settings while growing up. This has further convinced me that Dr. Dunc has something going here. Pierrette, with academic accommodations in school and university, is now a successful business owner who designed SentioCHEWS and KidCompanions Chewelry for those who must bite, chew, and fidget to get on with their day!

Dr. Dunc explains things as they are.  No sugar coating except for the witty, humorous way of getting his points across . He gives you the plain truth. Page 64 “…Do nothing and you’ll probably continue to have Tics throughout your entire life (like ninety percent of people with Tourette Syndrome). Get going on some treatment, though, and maybe things will look different.

Tic management may not involve medication, or even need medication to work, but that doesn’t make it any less a real treatment or your Tics any less of a real problem!”

Love the way this book ends. The tone throughout is just like a conversation or a letter from a good friend who wants the best for you.  The author has one last lesson for his reader, “Each time you use Tic Management it will get easier…  I’ll be rooting for you! Signed ~ Dr. Dunc.”

About the Author
B. Duncan McKinlay  PhD. C.Psych author of Nix Your Tics!: Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide for Young PeopleDr. B. Duncan McKinlay is a registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, practicing with children and adolescents in the areas of clinical and school psychology. He is currently working for the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) in London, Ontario, Canada.
 B. Duncan McKinlay, (‘Dr. Dunc’) has Tourette Syndrome.  That means he’s been living with both motor tics (movements he has a hard time stopping) and phonic tics (noises he has a hard time stopping) for most of his life.  He knows firsthand how annoying, embarrassing, misunderstood, painful, and disruptive tics can be.  For years, he’s been educating people all around the world by means of his presentations and his website, and through appearances on television, in magazines, and on film.  Now, in “Nix Your Tics!”, he wants to share with you a well-established, evidence-based practice he uses to manage tic symptoms in both himself and in his patients.
 Follow Dr. McKinlay:
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This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.