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CBIT Therapy
Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics

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What is CBIT? 

CBIT (Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics) therapy is a non-medication treatment approach designed to help individuals with Tourette Syndrome (TS) or other tic disorders manage their symptoms. It is based on the principles of habit reversal training and involves several components:

  1. Awareness Training: The individual learns to recognize their tics and identify any premonitory sensations or triggers that precede them.

  2. Competing Response Training: This involves teaching the individual to engage in a voluntary behavior that is physically incompatible with the tic. For example, if the individual has a neck twitch, they might learn to gently press their hand against their neck when they feel the urge to tic.

  3. Function-Based Interventions: CBIT therapists help individuals understand the function of their tics (e.g., whether they occur in response to specific triggers or situations) and develop strategies to address them.

  4. Relaxation Training: Techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness exercises may be taught to help individuals reduce stress and manage anxiety, which can exacerbate tics.

  5. Social Support and Education: CBIT therapists provide education about tic disorders and offer support to both the individual and their family members or caregivers.

 

 

CBIT therapy typically involves regular sessions with a trained therapist, during which these techniques are taught and practiced. Additionally, individuals are usually given homework assignments to reinforce the skills learned in therapy sessions.

Research has shown that CBIT can be effective in reducing tic severity and improving quality of life for many individuals with Tourette Syndrome or chronic tic disorders. It is often recommended as a first-line treatment, either alone or in combination with medication, depending on the individual's specific needs and preferences.

Many of these strategies are already commonly used in the management of TS symptoms. Many adults with TS report that they have come up with strategies similar to CBIT to manage their tics.  CBIT takes the most effective concepts and blends them with strategies that aid people in learning the techniques quickly.*

*Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions for Tics,  published by the Tourette Association of America, 2010, Douglas Woods, Ph.D., John Piacentini, Ph.D., A.B.P.P. & John T. Walkup, M.D.., authors.  The authors are the leading authorities in the field and research of Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders.

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