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CBIT for Tics

Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT)

What is CBIT?

CBIT is a non-pharmacological intervention for tics that was developed in 2001 and is recommended by the Tourette Association of America. This is an evidence-based intervention which has been proven to be at-least as effective as pharmacological therapy. With CBIT, patients find a new, competing movement that prevents their tic from occurring. This new movement interrupts the behavioral cycle and neural pathway generating the tic. Over time, this minimizes the urge and frequency of the tic. 

Who Can Benefit From CBIT?

Generally, anyone over eight-years of age is able to participate in the structure of CBIT. The greater the awareness of their urge to tic, and the more motivated a person is for using their competing response to interrupt their tic(s), the more successful this therapy will be. For this reason, CBIT is not recommended for young children or children with autism or developmental-delay.

The Process and What to Expect

CBIT is a highly-structured program that requires 8-10 sessions to complete. It incorporates lifestyle management and relaxation techniques, in addition to helping the patient identify their competing response for the tic. Many people with Tourette Syndrome have multiple tics, and in general, we work with one tic at a time.  For example, someone with a throat-clearing tic can train themselves to swallow instead. When the urge to clear their throat first emerges, the patient is instructed to swallow, and keep swallowing for two minutes or until the urge goes away, whichever is longer. With practice, patients can completely resolve their tic, or at least notice a substantial improvement in their tic frequency. 

For more information about CBIT, please visit the Tourette Association of America website: https://tourette.org/resource/cbit-brochure/

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“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

-Viktor Frankl
Austrian Neurologist and author of Man’s Search for Meaning