Habit reversal training (HRT) is an evidence-based multicomponent behavioral treatment developed to address a wide variety of repetitive behavior disorders/habit disorders. It is one of the most effective non-pharmacological treatments. It involves increasing awareness of these repetitive behaviors and learning to use socially appropriate behavior instead.
What are repetitive behavior disorders?
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Nail biting
- Thumb sucking
- Skin picking
Who does Habit Reversal Training work for?
3 components of Habit Reversal Training:
- Awareness training
- Increase awareness of the repetitive behavior urges and performance
- Helps person focus on instances that the behavior is likely to occur
- Helps the person gain better self-control
- Competing response training
- Develop a competing response that replaces the old unwanted behavior
- Engage in competing behavior when feel tic urge
- Must be inconspicuous and easy to implement
- Examples – squeezing a squishy ball or playing with play doh
- Social Support
- Involving family members, teachers, friends
- Provide positive reinforcement and feedback every time the person uses or practices a competing response
Other important components to the treatment are relaxation training in order to manage stress and decrease the behaviors, and generalization training to encourage practicing their new skill in different contexts.
At Manhattan Psychology Group, we treat many children and adolescents with repetitive behavior disorders with Habit Reversal Training (HRT). If you are concerned about your child’s habit, please call to schedule a consultation.
Written by Lauren Feiden, PsyD