Behavioral Therapy and Treatment for Childhood Tics and Tourette Disorder
Orlando CBIT Therapy
According to the Tourette Association of America’s 2001 Behavioral Study, a non-medicated treatment option known as CBIT can reduce the severity of tics; CBIT (Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics) minimizes tics, or the urge to tic, through a method comprised of three components: specific training the patient to be aware of his/her tic and urges to tic, training competing behaviors when patients feel the urge to tic, and lastly, adjusting day to day life for patients in ways that can reduce tics. The entirety of the treatment is centered around the goal of empowering patients to feel more in control of their tics, while decreasing symptoms. With rates of effectiveness comparable to the use of antipsychotic medications, professionals believe it to be the first line of treatment for people with Tourettes or a Tic disorder.
CBIT is comprised of three treatment steps which are briefly discussed below:
- Part 1- Training the patient to be aware of his/her tic and urges to tic
CBIT isn’t about making a patient more self-conscious about their tic but instead should make them feel more self-aware. In gaining self-awareness and an understanding of Tourette’s, clients can begin to feel more self-confident about their management skills over their tics. This step is all about recognizing what makes their tics better or worse and honing an awareness of their premonitory urges.
- Part 2- Training competing behaviors when patients feel the urge to tic
When working with a behavioral therapist, a competing response to a tic will be introduced. This behavior is used following a premonitory urge and replaces the tic behavior. This is the key element for effective treatment.
- Part 3- Adjusting day to day life for patients in ways that can reduce the tics
Some environments or situations can be tic provoking for patients which is why identifying these day-to-day triggers and then changing them can make tic occurrence less likely to happen. Learning how to manage stress before or during this type of situation can be incredibly beneficial. A stable and predictable environment makes managing tics, and tic urges, more successful.
Similar to CBIT, evidence-based treatment for Tic disorders/Tourettes is HRT (Habit Reversal Training). Like CBIT, individuals learn to identify a premonitory urge that occurs prior to the tic and implements competing responses.
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, we provide evidence-based behavior therapy including CBIT for children with tic and Tourette Disorder.