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Both Individual and Group Therapy Shown to Helps Kids with Tics

Both Individual and Group Therapy Shown to Helps Kids with Tics

Involuntary stressful movements or sounds, called tics, can make life difficult for a child. New research finds that both group and individual therapy can be an effective method to overcome tic disorders.

In the new study, a group of Danish researchers compared the effect of different types of therapy to relieve tics. Their positive findings suggest that intervention by therapists can result in a better course of treatment for those children who experience a very difficult life with tics.

One of the researchers behind the study, Dr. Judith Becker Nissen, an associate professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, said tics can be effectively treated with either group or individual therapy. “This means that many more children and young people can be offered relevant treatment, which is very welcome news for the affected families.”

The research has been published in the scientific journal European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Around 15 percent of all children have tics, and up to one percent of these children have tics that are classified as chronic. When tics continue for more than a year and include both vocal and motoric tics, the disorder is called Tourette’s syndrome.

This disorder can be debilitating for a child, Nissen said.

“Some children suffer from tics to such an extent that they must be given pain relief. They can find it difficult to concentrate, for example because they struggle to keep the tics in check so they don’t disturb their classmates, or because their blinking tics make it difficult to focus.

“In addition, a child who makes strange noises or sudden movements can suffer bullying. We therefore need to help these children get treatment, even though we know that tics often decrease as the brain matures. But the early years are so crucial for a child’s development, thus everything that may reduce tics intensity and frequency needs to be done,”  Nissen said.

According to Nissen, it is particularly important to know of the good effect of group therapy.

“Some parents are concerned that in group therapy their child will copy the other children’s tics and end up with more of them. On the contrary, the children in group therapy are given a selection of exercises that can support them in developing strategies which they and their parents can use if new tics turn up later in their lives.”

Together with her colleagues, Nissen has compiled experience and data from the work with children and parents. These experiences are now gathered in the first Danish manual. The manual is available for therapists and affected families to use.

“It has the advantage of both describing individual and group therapy and of combining multiple methods, so the children are given a broad repertoire of methods and strategies,” Nissen said.

“Previously we’ve relied on American and other guidelines, but cultural differences and experience may play a role for treatment outcome, so it is valuable that Danish children and their parents contribute to the manual.”

Source: Aarhus University/EurekAlert

Both Individual and Group Therapy Shown to Helps Kids with Tics

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Both Individual and Group Therapy Shown to Helps Kids with Tics. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Aug 2018 (Originally: 30 Aug 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 30 Aug 2018
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