A tic is a sudden and rapid motor movement or vocalization. Individuals feel a sensation that “builds up” and once the tic is performed, a feeling of relief is experienced. Vocal tics are sounds and noises such as coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, syllables, swearing, or repeating another person’s words. Some examples of motor tics include eye, nose, mouth, arm, hand, shoulder, leg, or foot movements, eye blinking, facial grimacing, head jerks, and tensing.
Tic disorders are treated with a highly structured behaviorally based therapy called Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT). We will work to identify factors that make tics worse. With awareness training, internal sensations and external triggers can be observed so that we can work on finding competing behaviors that make tics more difficult to perform. Awareness training helps in identifying areas where lifestyle changes might help. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and mindfulness based strategies will also be integrated into the treatment. Children with tic disorders often need help dealing with social situations and bullying.
Helpful Treatment Augmentations
Family therapy is often useful so that your family members have a plan to support you in ways that will help you reach your goals. We will address problematic behaviors that affect your relationships and interfere with your progress. Together, we will find alternative strategies that can help you.
Compassion focused therapy is useful for clients who feel guilty, are self-critical and lack self-compassion.
Medication can be a helpful addition to your therapy. If you are not currently taking medication for your anxiety, and we determine that it may be useful, a referral to a physician will be provided.