Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Adults with Asperger Syndrome or Autism


Managing emotions can be especially difficult for adults diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome or autism. Cognitive behavioral therapy, commonly called CBT can be an effective way to deal with mental health problems, including difficult emotions, such as depression, anxiety and repetitive thoughts.

Many people with Asperger's syndrome, autism or autism spectrum disorders (ASD) fears the idea of ​​seeing a psychotherapist. The thought of analyzing past relationships, talk about their experiences of early childhood, and dwelling on emotions may seem boring, meaningless or painful. Can you imagine a therapy session as something similar to what Freud did, or Woody Allen on a couch and the therapist nods and ask about dreams. Therapy can be much more practical and goal oriented that these images can lead you to believe, which is exactly what many people with Asperger's syndrome or autism are interested. CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts (or cognitions), our emotions and behaviors are interrelated. The ideas behind the thoughts can be tested for logical false or incorrect generalizations. For many people with autism or Asperger's excel in logical thinking, examining their own thoughts for illogical patterns may seem very natural.


CBT deals with emotion, but in a concrete way. Many CBT therapists have their client rate and extent of their emotions, as a way to be more aware of them. How emotion is felt in the body can be explored. Please do not confuse with CBT ABA. ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis, is often referred to as behavioral therapy, but not cognitive behavioral therapy. ABA is a specific therapy, often used with autistic children, to teach new behaviors. It is not psychotherapy, not to deal with emotions or problems such as depression, anxiety and repetitive thoughts. CBT can incorporate a behavioral issue, such as the creation of a regular exercise program as part of managing symptoms, but it is not to give adult small rewards each time they follow the requests of the therapist. There is also some confusion about cognitive behavioral therapy versus cognitive therapy. Strictly speaking, cognitive therapy is a type of therapy, which falls under the umbrella of several general types of CBT. In practice, most therapists use the word "cognitive therapy" and "cognitive behavioral therapy" interchangeably.

Most therapists are not listed as CBT therapists because they will use other techniques as appropriate. It is probably more important to find a therapist who is familiar with Asperger syndrome and autism, and who enjoy working with people on the autism spectrum. Tell your potential therapist that you are interested in a more concrete approach, practice, set goals you need, and ask that they use CBT regularly.

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