Behavior Therapy and Research Lab

Researcher - Dr. Douglas Woods

The Research

Guided by Dr. Douglas Woods, the Behavior Therapy and Research Lab (BTRL) is dedicated to research on obsessive-compulsive related disorders, such as Tourette’s disorder and trichotillomania.  Research in the lab includes work on (1) understanding biopsychosocial factors underlying, maintaining, and exacerbating these disorders; (2) developing and testing treatments for these disorders; and (3) studying how to effectively disseminate treatments.  If you’re interested in participating in the lab’s research or if you’re just interested in learning more about the lab’s current research projects, click the “Current Projects” tab.

The Research Team

WoodsDirector: Dr. Douglas Woods

Dr. Douglas Woods is currently Professor of Psychology and Dean of the Graduate School at Marquette University. Prior to that, he was Head of Psychology at Texas A&M University from 2013-2015, and a faculty member, Chair of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1999-2013. Dr. Woods received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University in 1999. Dr. Woods has authored or co-authored over 260 papers or chapters, and authored or co-authored 9 books on Tic Disorders, Trichotillomania, and other repetitive behavior problems. Dr. Woods has received nearly $4 million in extramural funding from the NIMH and other funding sources. Dr. Woods is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Lab Members

Kathryn Barber, M.S.

Katie BarberKathryn Barber, M.S.
Title:  Graduate Student
Email address:
Katie's CV

Katie Barber graduated from Penn State in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Shippensburg University in 2022. Katie entered the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Marquette in 2022, working under Dr. Doug Woods.

Katie worked as a research assistant in Dr. Michelle Newman’s Laboratory of Anxiety and Depression Research at Penn State from 2020 to 2022. From 2021 to 2022, she completed her master’s-level clinical internship at CBT Baltimore, a private therapy practice in Maryland that specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Katie is interested in the cognitive and emotional factors that underlie and maintain trichotillomania. Her research interests also include mechanisms of change and predictors of treatment outcome for trichotillomania and tic disorders.

Carissa Basile, M.S., BCBA, LBA

Carissa BasileCarissa Basile
Title: Graduate Student
Email Address:
Carissa's CV

Carissa Basile is a fifth-year PhD student in the Behavior Analysis program at Marquette University. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis from California State University, Northridge. Carissa has 7 years of experience working with individuals diagnosed with ASD and other developmental disabilities decreasing severe problem behavior such as aggression, self-injury, and property destruction and increasing social skills such as play and conversation skills. Currently, she is working under the supervision of Dr. Doug Woods in the Behavior Therapy and Research Lab. Carissa is currently working on her dissertation, evaluating the efficacy of, and preference for, modifications to differential reinforcement procedures used to reduce tics. 

Nicolas Merl, B.S.

Merl, NicolasNicolas Merl, B.S.
Title:  Graduate Student
Email address:
Nicolas' CV

Nicolas is a master's student in the Behavior Analysis program at Marquette University, working under the direction of Dr. Doug Woods in the Behavioral Therapy and Research Laboratory. He received his B.S. in Psychology from Hagen University, Germany. 

Nicolas is an academic athlete. In addition to being an active soccer player, he has also been a soccer coach. As part of this, he has coached children with disabilities of various medical conditions and has seen that certain behaviors of the children could be controlled through his work. His goal is to study the cognitive and emotional factors that cause and influence obsessive-compulsive disorders and to find appropriate intervention methods for better behavioral treatment.  

Brandon Pitts, B.S.

Brandon PittsBrandon Pitts, M.S.
Graduate Student
Email address: 
Brandon's CV

Brandon Pitts graduated with departmental honors from the University of Kansas (KU) in 2020 with a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience, minors in Philosophy and Psychology, and a Mind and Brain Certificate. He began the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Marquette University in the fall of 2021, working under the advisement of Dr. Douglas Woods.

While at KU, he assisted with a game theory study, with Dr. Richard Yi, investigating the role race (Black or White) plays in a person’s decision-making when playing a 3-person Ultimatum Game. At KU, he also conducted a neuroscience study, with Dr. Amber Watts, examining the relationship APOE ε4 has on executive function, verbal memory, and attention in the mildly cognitively impaired versus the cognitively unimpaired. In the summer of 2019, he worked with Dr. Michael Malek-Ahmadi at The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, where he served as the principal investigator on 3 research projects done to improve the understanding of the role white matter hyperintensity plays in Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Brandon’s current research interests include (1) examining the role environmental stimuli play in the presentation of tics in children and adults with tic disorders, (2) improving behavioral interventions and treatments for people with OCD-spectrum disorders, (3) and exploring the relationship between Tourette syndrome and impulsivity.

Jordan Stiede, M.S.

Jordan StiedeJordan Stiede, M.S.
Graduate Student
Email address:
Jordan's CV

Jordan Stiede graduated summa cum laude from Ripon College in 2017 with a B.A. in Psychobiology and a minor in Spanish. He entered the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at Marquette University in the fall of 2017, working under Dr. Doug Woods’ advisement. In the spring of 2020, he completed his master’s thesis, which explored cultural differences in reactions to tics and tic severity. Jordan’s research interests include understanding, improving, and disseminating behavioral interventions for children and adults with tic disorders. He is currently working on his dissertation, which is examining the preliminary efficacy of an enhanced version of an online-delivered behavior therapy for tics called Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics – Enhanced (CBIT-E). Jordan is also overseeing a project aimed at investigating the impact of social interactions on tic frequency.


Current Projects

Online-Delivered Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics-Enhanced (CBIT-E)
Pilot Study

What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to examine the preliminary efficacy of an enhanced version of an online-delivered behavior therapy for tics called Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics – Enhanced (CBIT-E).


What will I be asked to do as part of this study?

In the study, approximately 20 children with tic disorders will be randomized to one of two groups: CBIT-E or a waitlist control (WLC). For those randomized to CBIT-E, treatment will be administered according to the standard CBIT manual, but there will be two modifications. CBIT, which is the most well-supported nonpharmacological treatment for children with tics, typically consists of the implementation of strategies to help manage the environment related to tics and the implementation of an exercise to engage in when an individual feels the urge to tic. CBIT-E will include these same techniques, plus additional in-session and out of session practice of the exercises that individuals use when they feel the urge to tic.

Treatment will be delivered over Microsoft Teams, which is a secure video conferencing system. The therapist will administer treatment from a private room in the Marquette University Tic Disorder Specialty Clinic, while participants will be at their home. Treatment will include a screening visit, baseline assessment, 11 weeks (9 sessions) of CBIT-E, a post treatment assessment, and a three-month follow up assessment. Further, starting after session 3, there will be four 15-minute practice periods scheduled each week between sessions. During these practice periods, your child will meet over Microsoft Teams with the therapist or a research assistant.

Individuals randomized to the WLC will not receive treatment during the 11-week period. Instead, they will be placed on a waitlist to receive standard CBIT following the end of the study period. Participants in this group will complete a screening visit, baseline assessment, and a final assessment, which will occur approximately 11 weeks after baseline.


Who do I contact if I am interested in getting additional information about this study?

Please call (414) 288-6177 for more information. Upon calling, you will be asked to complete a 20-minute phone interview. This phone interview will help us determine whether you will be able to participate in the study. You may also email with any questions about the study.


 Locus of Control in People with Persistent Tic Disorders

Study Description:


Title: Locus of Control in People with Persistent Tic Disorders


We are seeking children with persistent tic disorders or Tourette syndrome, and at least one caretaker/legal guardian, to participate in our research study titled "Locus of Control in People with Persistent Tic Disorders." This study examines the link between tic disorders and how much control an individual feels they have over their lives. By participating in this study, you will contribute to advancing our understanding of tic disorders and potentially improve treatment approaches.


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Child must be between the ages of 9 and 17.
  • Child must have a diagnosis of persistent tic disorder or Tourette syndrome.
  • Caretakers/legal guardians must be willing to complete parent report measures.


Study Procedure: Upon expressing interest in participating, you and your child will be directed to an online survey hosted on Qualtrics, a secure and confidential platform. The survey is estimated to take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Your responses will remain anonymous throughout the study. Child and caretaker dyad participants in the research study will complete surveys assessing the child’s perceived control over their lives, tic severity, difficulties with attention and hyperactivity, demographic information, and the personal significance of tics to their identity.


In appreciation of your time and effort, participants who complete the survey will have the option to provide their address and receive a 20-dollar gift card as a token of our gratitude. It is important to note that regardless of whether you choose to provide your information or not, there will be no possibility of linking you or your child’s questionnaire responses, to personal identifying information.


Participating in this study provides a valuable opportunity to contribute to research in tic disorders and potentially improve the lives of individuals with tics. To participate in the study, please visit

On the survey page, you will find detailed instructions and information about the study objectives and procedures. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us at (414) 288-6182.


Thank you for considering being a part of this important study.



Brandon X. Pitts and Douglas W. Woods

Marquette University/Behavioral Therapy and Research Lab

(414) 288-6182


Join the Lab

Information for Aspiring Undergraduate RAs

The lab is currently seeking undergraduate research assistants (RA) to assist with ongoing research projects. If you’re interested in potentially being an RA in the lab, please send an email to Kathryn Barber ( informing him of your interest in working in the lab. Please be sure to include a completed "Behavior Therapy Research Lab Undergraduate Research Application" in your email.

Information for Aspiring Graduate Students

Dr. Woods will be considering new students for the 2022-23 academic year.


Lab Alumni

Lab Alumni

  • Kristine Vo, M.S. - Case Coordinator at Behavior Trend
  • Jennifer Alexander, PhD. - McLean OCDI
  • Ellen J. Teng, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine
  • Andrea Begotka, Ph.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Pediatric Psychologist at Children's Wisconsin
  • Brook A. Marcks, Ph.D. – Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at University of Memphis
  • Melissa Norberg, Ph.D. – Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University, Sydney Australia
  • Michael B. Himle, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Psychology and Assistant Director of Clinical Training at University of Utah
  • Chad T. Wetterneck, PhD. – Psychologist at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, WI
  • Christopher A. Flessner, Ph.D. – Full Professor of Psychology at Kent State University
  • Christine A. Conelea, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at University of Minnesota School of Medicine
  • Michael R. Walther, Ph.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University Medical School
  • Emily J. Ricketts, Ph.D. – Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
  • Matthew R. Capriotti, Ph.D. – Associate Professor at San Jose State University
  • Flint M. Espil, Ph.D. – Clinical Assistant Professor within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Ivar Snorrason, Ph.D. – Instructor of Psychology (Psychiatry) at Harvard Medical School
  • David C. Houghton, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston
  • Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D. – Professor of Psychology at Utah State University
  • Amanda C. Adcock, M.S., Ph.D. – Clinical Psychologist at VA Maine Health Care System in Augusta, ME.
  • Benjamin T. P. Tucker, M.S. – Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and founder of Open Spectrum Behavior Therapy in San Francisco, CA