B45: Behaviour Modification
Chapter 21: Habit Reversal Procedures
DEFINING HABIT BEHAVIOURS
Habit reversal- trying to get rid of a habit; include awareness training, competing response training, social
support, generalization strategies and motivational strategies.
Often do not interfere to any great extent with the person’s social functioning: they tend to be more of an
annoyance to the person or to significant others in the person’s life.
Habit disorder- a repetitive behaviour in one of three categories: nervous, tics or stuttering.
There are 3 types of habit behaviours:
1. NERVOUS HABIT
•Nervous habit- repetitive, manipulative behaviours that are most likely to occur when a person
experiences heightened tension.
Ex. Twirling/stroking hair, tapping a pencil, chewing a pen, jingling money in pocket, ripping
•They involve repetitive, manipulative behaviours that are believed to be the most likely to occur when the
person experiences heightened nervous tension.
•Competing responses to fix this is to notice when the problem behaviour is happening, and do something
else to refrain from it. Ex. Larry always bites his nails in class, to fix this problem he is told that
whenever he notices he is biting his nails, to stop, and hold his pencil for 1-3 mins (refrain him from
putting it to his mouth)
2. MOTOR AND VOCAL TICS
•Motor tics- repetitive, jerking movements of a particular muscle group in the body.
Ex. Moving head around, stretching back, squinting, blinking, eyebrow raising
•Believed to be associated with muscle tension
•Voc al tic- a repetitive vocal sound or word uttered by an individual that does not serve any
•Ex. Throat clearing, coughing when person is not sick
•A competing response would be, Ex. if Bob always snapped his neck while playing baseball, anytime he
noticed he was doing it, he was told to stop, have his head straight and breath in and out deeply.