In uncontrolled studies, several behavioural methods, including habit reversal, were said to be useful in writer's cramp. In this controlled study, 23 subjects with writer's cramp recruited from a neurology clinic were randomly allocated to five sessions over four weeks of either habit reversal training or a control treatment of relaxation training. Three subjects dropped out. Twenty patients (9 habit reversers, 11 controls) completed the trial up to three months follow-up. Outcome measures included observation of writing within the session, assessment of writing tasks completed at home, and blind ratings by an independent assessor. The results showed that habit reversal was no better than relaxation. Taking both treatments together, patients improved to three months follow-up on seven of nine measures, but remained substantially handicapped.