CBT for people with autism

43 replies (Jump to last post)




I'm really interested in how we can adapt psychological therapies such as CBT for people with autism. There are a few really useful articles so far on Network Autism (e.g. Professor Ann Ozivandijan's presentation and Tim Lacey's article on treating depresson, but I'm really keen to hear other people's professional experience. What aspects of CBT are useful for people on the spectrum? What needs to be adapted? What research needs to be done in future? What has worked for you?

Edited on February 23, 2017 - 9:20am

September 25, 2016 - 9:57am

I have been reading through the comments about CBT with autism. Has any research been done into the use of mindfulness with children, young adults or adults with autism?




May 30, 2018 - 7:57pm

I'm unsure about CBT for autistic people because it entails imposing predominant neurotype norms and values on autistics. So comments like "How would you do that differently next time?" and "Is there another way of looking at it?" are perjorative. They assume the NT way of looking at it is correct. It may be that adpatations and/or accomadations in the first instance are helpful instead of changing the autistic individual against neurological make-up. I also think, like other psycho-education approaches, it could potentially encourage camouflaging which we now know is associated with mental health problems (Cassidy).

I went on an ACT course recently and it struck me that this is a more suitable therapy for autistic people who have developed mental health problems through navigating a non-autistic world, post-industrial society with all the sensory overwhelm that this entails. It's value/goals driven. Instead of changing thoughts, mindfulness is applied to acknowledge them and accept them as they are, just there. Surely this is a more inclusive starting point for self-awareness and self-regulation?

Another issue is the measures used in CBT sessions, and recent studies pointing out they are standardised on NT populations and may not tap into physical symptons experienced by autistic individuals (Network Autism article by Jacqui Rodgers).

So, I'm thinking, is CBT just another intervention to make autistic people more non-autistic? Far less punitive than ABA but is it essentially working towards the same end-goal? What works for NTs, in a society geared up for NTs, may not work for autistics.