A Therapy for Tics in Children Managing Underlying Processes: a Pilot Study

  • Julie B. Leclerc
  • Philippe Valois
  • Gabrielle J-Nolin
  • Mélyane Bombardier
  • Stéphanie Ouellette
  • Kieron P. O’Connor


Tourette disorder is characterized by tics and is generally associated with many life impairments in childhood. International clinical guidelines recommend treatment with pharmacotherapy and behaviour therapy. The current pilot study reports a single-case design study assessing the effectiveness of an innovative cognitive-behavioural and physiological treatment for decreasing tics in children and adolescents. Fourteen participants aged 8–16 years old were recruited as consecutive referrals from the general population. Eleven cases completed a cognitive-psychophysiological treatment (CoPs) adapted for children and adolescents, and 5 children completed 6- and 12-months follow-up. The CoPs treatment lasted 14–16 sessions and covered 10 major steps principally addressing processes leading up to tics rather than the tics themselves. There was a significant decrease in tic severity as measured by the Tourette Symptom Global Scale overall children. Results showed a decrease of at least one standard deviation at follow-up time measurements and the majority of children showed a further decrease in tic severity at 12-months follow-up. In conclusion, the cognitive psychophysiological treatment reduced severity of tics in children and adolescents as well as in adults (O’Connor, 2015). These findings highlight the necessity for a therapeutic approach which focuses on the central and global processes surrounding tics to help symptom reduction in people with Tourette.


Tourette syndrome Children Therapy Tics Behavioural treatment 



This study was funded by a research grant from the “Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec” (Research group #20573): “Regroupement multidisciplinaire de la recherche clinique sur le spectre du trouble obsessionnel compulsif; 2010-2014”. The authors would like to acknowledge the Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder and Tic Disorder Studies Centre team for their participation with assessment and treatment.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethic Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were approved by the ethical committee of the “Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal” in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants and their parents.

Conflict of Interest

Julie B. Leclerc declare that she has no conflict of interest. Philippe Valois declare that he has no conflict of interest. Gabrielle J-Nolin declare that she has no conflict of interest. Mélyane Bombardier declare that she has no conflict of interest. Stéphanie Ouellette declare that she has no conflict of interest. Kieron P. O’Connor declare that he has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie B. Leclerc
    • 1
    • 2
  • Philippe Valois
    • 1
  • Gabrielle J-Nolin
    • 1
  • Mélyane Bombardier
    • 1
  • Stéphanie Ouellette
    • 1
  • Kieron P. O’Connor
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Research CentreInstitut universitaire en santé mentale de MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada

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