Transdiagnostic cognitive behavioral therapy for misophonia in youth: Methods for a clinical trial and four pilot cases

Adam B. Lewin, Sarah Dickinson, Kelly Kudryk, Ashley R. Karlovich, Sherelle L. Harmon, Dominique A. Phillips, Niza A. Tonarely, Rinatte Gruen, Brent Small, Jill Ehrenreich-May

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Misophonia is a condition marked by dysregulated emotions and behaviors in response to trigger sounds, often chewing, breathing, or coughing. Evidence suggests that misophonia develops in adolescence and the emotions and behaviors are a conditioned response to distress, resulting in social avoidance, stress, and family conflict. In addition, co-occurrence with other psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety, OCD, and Tourette syndrome is common. A transdiagnostic cognitive behavioral therapeutic (CBT) approach appears appropriate. There are currently no controlled studies of youth with misophonia. The current paper describes the approach to a pilot randomized, blinded family-based treatment study for youth ages 8-16 years. Preliminary results from a pilot open trial also are described. Methods: A 2-phase dual site telehealth treatment study using a transdiagnostic CBT approach, the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Children and Adolescents (UP-C/A; Ehrenreich-May et al., 2018), is proposed. Phase 1 consisted of a 4-case pilot of UP-C/A. Phase 2 includes a randomized trial comparing the UP-C/A to a standard relaxation and education protocol. Results: Preliminary results from the pilot show modest improvements in evaluator-rated misophonia symptoms on the Clinical Global Impression Severity and Improvement scales. Limitations: There is little research to inform evidence-based practice for youth with misophonia. Study limitations include lack of standardized misophonia assessment instruments and an absence of formal diagnostic criteria. Conclusions: The current paper describes proposed methods for the first randomized controlled trial for youth with misophonia and their families along with results from a 4-case pilot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-408
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of affective disorders
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety
  • Child
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Misophonia
  • Transdiagnostic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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