Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics

What CBIT is

Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (pronounced C Bit), is an evidenced-based intervention for tics. A tic is a sudden, rapid, recurrent, non-rhythmic, stereotyped motor movement or vocalization. Because tics can often minimize or disappear on their own, most tic specialists will recommend waiting for about 3 months to see if the tic persists before beginning CBIT. Because of this, the most common intervention for tics is education and passage of time.

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Length of CBIT

While Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics can be conducted in 12 weeks, it can be difficult to guarantee this timeframe due to several human factors in our growingly chaotic lives. This center has successfully graduated clients within 12 weeks, though this is not possible with every client. 

The length of time your therapy will take depends on several different factors, including 

  • the number of tics you want to work on and how complex they are,
  • how motivated you are to engage in the process,
  • how well you follow through with practice between sessions, and
  • the frequency and duration of your sessions.

How CBIT Progresses

Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics progresses in the same general form as CBT-based interventions, yet there are some specific differences.

Phase 1: Psychoeducation and Assessment

Your therapy will begin with psychoeducation about tics and the brain, and a thorough assessment of the tic(s). During this functional-based assessment, you and your therapist will create a list of antecedents and consequences that impact the tic(s). From here, your therapist will help you better manage your environment to reduce the impact on your tics, and create functional based interventions such as minimizing tic-exacerbating situations, removing reinforcers of the tic, and using relaxation strategies to help minimize the impact of the tic in a given situation.

Phase 2: Active Phase of Therapy

During this phase of therapy, you will mostly work on habit reversal training, though functional-based interventions will also continue. The first part of habit reversal training is awareness building, which includes self-monitoring, response detection, and response description. Another major component of habit reversal training is creating and practicing a competing response. Throughout your treatment, your therapist will likely encourage you to have at least one social support person to help with accountability and practice of certain aspects of treatment.

Phase 3: Relapse Prevention

This phase of therapy focuses on consolidating all the learning done throughout your journey. Your therapist will discuss with you how to prevent backsliding, and what to do if you begin to struggle with using your tools on your own.

When CBIT Ends

While you may end your therapeutic journey at any time you choose, your therapist will look for certain markers to help determine when you may be most ready to end CBIT. Such markers may include the following:

  • The tics are no longer significantly interfering with your life, or have significantly reduced in frequency and intensity.
  • You are feeling more confident in your ability to manage tics and urges.