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Matthew W Specht, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Matthew W Specht, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Pediatric OCD and Tourette''s Specialty Clinic


Expertise: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, Pediatric Medical Psychology, Psychologist, Tic Disorders, Tourette's Syndrome

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)
Appointment Phone: 410-614-2401

1800 Orleans St.
The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center Building, Suite 12356
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-614-4236
Fax: 410-955-8691


In the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, Matt W. Specht, Ph.D., focuses on neuropsychiatric disorders, namely Tourettes disorder and OCD. He began his career at Johns Hopkins in 2006 as a project coordinator and therapist for the Johns Hopkins portion of the NIMH-funded behavior therapy for children with Tourettes Disorder trial (RO1MH069874). He currently serves as the Johns Hopkins site principal investigator (since 2010). He is also a co-investigator (since 2010) for the NINDS-funded Tourettes Syndrome Association (TSA) Genetic Linkage Study 2U01NS040024-06A1. Dr. Specht joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2008 as an Instructor and has since been promoted to Assistant Professor (2011). more


  • Co-Director, Pediatric OCD and Tourette''s Specialty Clinic



  • VA Maryland Healthcare System / Psychology (2006)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Specht's current research focuses on evaluating co-occurring disorders as moderators of treatment outcome as well as developing and evaluating clinical algorithms for combining available empirically supported treatments for clinically complex patients.

Dr. Specht is interested in empirically-supported behavioral and cognitive behavioral treatments for Tourette’s and tic disorders as well as common comorbid psychiatric conditions (e.g., Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD], Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [OCD], and anxiety disorders). He has developed the Tic and Repetitive Behaviors Disorders Specialty Clinic within the Pediatric Medical Psychology Program. His research is focused on examining the means through which behavioral treatments result in sustained reductions in tic symptoms. He is the Principal Investigator of the Tourette Syndrome Association-funded Prolonged Tic Suppression and Habituation to the Premonitory Urge. He was involved with the Tourette Syndrome Association’s large-NIMH funded Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) study.

Selected Publications

Specht, M.W., Woods, D., Piacentini, J., Scahill, L., Peterson, A., Chang, S., Walkup, J.T. (2011). Clinical characteristics of children and adolescents with a primary tic disorder. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.Volume 23, Number 1 (2011), 15-31, DOI: 10.1007/s10882-010-9223-z

Woods, D.W., Piacentini, J.C., Scahill, L., Peterson, A.L., Wilhelm, S., Chang, S., Specht, M.W., Walkup, J.T. (in press). Acute and Long-term Effects of Behavior Therapy for Tics on Secondary Psychiatric and Psychosocial Functioning. J Child Neurol July 2011 vol. 26 no. 7 858-865

Woods, D. W., Piacenti, J. C., Scahill, L., Peterson, A. L., Wilhelm, S., Chang, S., Specht, M…Walkup, J. T. (2011). Behavior therapy for tics in children: Acute and long-term effects on psychiatric and psychosocial functioning. Journal of Child Neurology, 26, 858-865.

Piacentini, J., Woods, D. W., Scahill, L., Wilhelm, S., Peterson, A. L., Chang, S., Walkup, J. T. (2010). Behavior therapy for children with Tourette Disorder: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 303, 1929-1937.

Specht, M.W., Pierce-Keeton, C.., Walkup, J.T. (2008). Childhood Disorders: Tic Disorders. In A. Tasman, J. Kay, J. Lieberman, M.B. First, & M. Maj (Eds.), Psychiatry 3rd edition. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Activities & Honors


  • Research and Training Grant designed to examine the effects of prolonged tic suppression., TSA, 2008
  • Early-career scholarship, TSA 5th International Scientific Symposium in recognition of this work., 2009


  • Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA)

Professional Activities

  • Tourette Syndrome Association
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