Cognitive behavioural therapy for adults with autism spectrum disorder

Cognitive behavioural therapy for adults with autism spectrum disorder Purpose – With the rise in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), affected adults may increasingly seek help from psychotherapists for problems managing daily life, including struggles with social functioning and self‐direction. These patients often have co‐morbid disorders for which there are evidence‐based protocols in the literature on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This paper aims to provide guidance to psychotherapists serving these adults. Design/methodology/approach – Recently, there has been no outcome research on CBT with adult ASD, but there is evidence from separate literatures on cognitive functioning in ASD and CBT for non‐autistic adults that can inform treatment for this population. Based on that evidence, this paper provides a psychotherapy model that can be applied to any patient with ASD who has enough verbal ability and interest to engage in regular sessions with a psychotherapist. Findings – People with ASD process information in an idiosyncratic way, and their differences are likely at play in the social problems they report. Practical implications – CBT approaches are designed to teach people how to monitor their own thoughts and perceptions in order to become more aware of interpretive errors and to target those that are associated with mood and anxiety problems. Originality/value – Extra attention to skill development is needed in this population, especially in the broad categories of social and coping skills. This paper offers a discussion of the primary objectives of CBT with examples of techniques that are particularly helpful for patients with ASD, and concludes that with modifications and extra attention to skill‐building, these approaches can be successful with adults with ASD. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Emerald Publishing

Cognitive behavioural therapy for adults with autism spectrum disorder

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
2044-1282
DOI
10.1108/20441281111180628
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – With the rise in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), affected adults may increasingly seek help from psychotherapists for problems managing daily life, including struggles with social functioning and self‐direction. These patients often have co‐morbid disorders for which there are evidence‐based protocols in the literature on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This paper aims to provide guidance to psychotherapists serving these adults. Design/methodology/approach – Recently, there has been no outcome research on CBT with adult ASD, but there is evidence from separate literatures on cognitive functioning in ASD and CBT for non‐autistic adults that can inform treatment for this population. Based on that evidence, this paper provides a psychotherapy model that can be applied to any patient with ASD who has enough verbal ability and interest to engage in regular sessions with a psychotherapist. Findings – People with ASD process information in an idiosyncratic way, and their differences are likely at play in the social problems they report. Practical implications – CBT approaches are designed to teach people how to monitor their own thoughts and perceptions in order to become more aware of interpretive errors and to target those that are associated with mood and anxiety problems. Originality/value – Extra attention to skill development is needed in this population, especially in the broad categories of social and coping skills. This paper offers a discussion of the primary objectives of CBT with examples of techniques that are particularly helpful for patients with ASD, and concludes that with modifications and extra attention to skill‐building, these approaches can be successful with adults with ASD.

Journal

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual DisabilitiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 16, 2011

Keywords: Developmental psychology; Social isolation; Social behaviour

References

  • The empirical status of cognitive‐behavior therapy: a review of meta‐analyses
    Butler, A.C.; Chapman, J.E.; Forman, E.M.; Beck, A.T.
  • Cognitive‐behavioral Therapy for Adult Asperger Syndrome
    Gaus, V.L.
  • Adult Asperger syndrome and the utility of cognitive‐behavioral therapy
    Gaus, V.L.
  • Social and psychiatric functioning in adolescents with Asperger syndrome compared with conduct disorder
    Green, J.; Gilchrist, A.; Burton, D.; Cox, A.
  • Schema change processes in cognitive therapy
    Padesky, C.A.
  • Social Support: Theory, Research and Applications
  • Cognitive behavioral treatment of comorbid anxiety disorders and social difficulties in children with high‐functioning autism: a case report
    Sze, K.M.; Wood, J.J.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorders: a randomized, controlled trial
    Wood, J.J.; Drahota, A.; Sze, K.; Har, K.; Chiu, A.; Langer, D.A.

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