Habit Reversal Therapy for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors in Williams Syndrome: A Case Study

  • Christine A. Conelea
  • Bonita P. Klein-Tasman


Williams syndrome (WS) is genetic neurodevelopmental disorder with a well-characterized cognitive and behavioral phenotype. Research has consistently demonstrated high rates of psychopathology in this population; however, little research has examined the use of empirically-supported psychosocial interventions in those with WS. The current case study reports on the use of Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT) to treat multiple body-focused repetitive behaviors in a child with WS. Although HRT is a well-established cognitive-behavioral intervention for body-focused repetitive behaviors, it has been infrequently used in populations with developmental disabilities. An etiologically-informed approach was used to adapt HRT to fit the known behavioral and cognitive phenotype of WS. Results suggest that HRT may be beneficial for this population. Modified treatment elements are described and future research areas highlighted.


Williams syndrome Body-focused repetitive behaviors Habit reversal therapy Developmental disability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine A. Conelea
    • 1
    • 3
  • Bonita P. Klein-Tasman
    • 2
  1. 1.Rhode Island Hospital/Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Research CenterProvidenceUSA

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