Evaluating the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of tele-comprehensive behavior therapy for tics (teleCBIT) for Tourette syndrome in youth and adults

Matthew R. Capriotti, Brianna C.M. Wellen, Brianna N. Young, Michael B. Himle, Christine A. Conelea, Flint M. Espil, Heather Simpson, Carol A. Mathews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT) is an efficacious, first-line treatment for Tourette syndrome (TS) and other chronic or persistent tic disorders. However, CBIT's public health impact has been limited by suboptimal treatment access. Preliminary research has shown that providing CBIT over videoconference (teleCBIT) is a promising delivery method for patients who cannot access in-person care. However, extant studies have been small efficacy trials focused only on pediatric patients. Replication of these studies is needed in additional treatment settings and across a wider age range of patients, especially in light of advances in telehealth technology and increasing telehealth adoption among practitioners. Methods: We conducted a single-arm trial to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of teleCBIT embedded in comprehensive, medical tic specialty clinics. From October 2016 to September 2018, patients were offered teleCBIT at their usual care appointments. Those who were interested and met inclusion/exclusion criteria received 8 sessions of CBIT guided by a manualized protocol. An independent evaluator, masked to treatment progress, administered assessments at baseline, post-treatment, and 3 and 6 months after treatment. Results: Twenty-five percent of patients who were offered treatment initiated teleCBIT through the study, and all treatment initiators completed treatment. From pre- to post-treatment, decreases in Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) total tic severity scores showed a large effect size among pediatric patients (n = 19; t = 5.72, P < 0.001, d = 1.31) and a medium-to-large effect size for adult patients (n = 10, t = 1.41, P = 0.096, d = 0.664). Thirteen of 19 pediatric patients (68%) and 6 of 10 adult patients (60%) had a positive global treatment response at post-treatment. Patients rated the treatment as highly satisfactory. Ninety-three percent of sessions were free of substantial technical problems. Discussion: Within the context of medical tic specialty clinics, teleCBIT demonstrated strong evidence of feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness comparable to in-person treatment for both pediatric and adult patients. TeleCBIT warrants study in future research on enhancing care systems for patients with TS. Trial registry: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/keydates/NCT04007913.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Teleneurology
  • Tourette disorder
  • effectiveness
  • telehealth
  • telepsychiatry
  • tic disorders

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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