Behavior Therapy for Childhood Tic Disorders

Douglas W. Woods, David C. Houghton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Tic disorders are neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by repetitive movements and vocalizations, often beginning during childhood and peaking in adolescence. Contextual factors influence tic expression, and specific somatosensory urges preceding tics have been identified. As such, behavioral methods, based on the operant and respondent learning principles, have been developed to manage tics. While psychopharmacological treatments are most commonly used, they carry significant limitations (e.g., side effects and unsatisfactory response). Behavior therapy has been demonstrated as effective for treating tic disorders. Moreover, translational research in behavior analysis has built a comprehensive psychotherapy that provides learning-based skills for managing tics. This chapter will provide a brief description of tic disorders, followed by discussion of the neurobehavioral model for tics, effective behavioral techniques and their empirical support, comprehensive behavioral treatment packages, and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClinical and Organizational Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780124202498
ISBN (Print)9780128007938
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior therapy
  • Chronic tic disorder
  • Habit reversal training
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Tics
  • Tourette syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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