Use of a habit reversal treatment for temporomandibular pain in a minimal therapist contact format

Donald Townsend, Rob A. Nicholson, Luis Buenaver, Francis Bush, Sandra Gramling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Previous research has suggested that a habit reversal treatment might be used effectively in a home-based minimal therapist contact (MTC) protocol to facilitate flexibility and increase treatment completion rates. Recent reviews of MTC interventions have found it to be generally efficacious, cost-effective, and generalizable. While MTC has been used for certain health-related disorders (e.g., headache), almost no research has evaluated the effectiveness of a MTC protocol with a population suffering from temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The current study utilized an oral habit reversal treatment in a MTC format in an attempt to reduce attrition and increase treatment flexibility. Twenty females suffering from TMD were randomly assigned to either a treatment (n=10) or a wait-list control (n=10) condition. Six individuals in each group used telephone contact while 4 used e-mail for weekly communication with the therapist. Results demonstrated that a habit reversal treatment in a MTC format led to statistically and clinically significant improvements in mean weekly pain ratings, number of pain-free days per week, and highest weekly pain ratings. Also, a significant reduction in maladaptive oral habits occurred from pre- to post-treatment and significant reductions in life stress and pain interference were observed. Results were maintained at follow-up. The implications for the use of MTC for treatment of facial pain are discussed, as are the implications of these findings for the role of oral habits in the etiology of TMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-239
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Facial pain
  • Habit reversal
  • Minimal contact therapy
  • TMJ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of a habit reversal treatment for temporomandibular pain in a minimal therapist contact format'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this