Autism and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Children and adults living on the autism spectrum often struggle to identify and regulate emotional states. They may become anxious and depressed when life changes occur and they are unable to understand themselves well enough to adapt to the changes. Situations like changing schools and jobs, marriage or divorce, and the death or loss of friendships or family members can be overwhelming when one cannot identify what their feelings are and regulate their emotional state through use of coping skills. Often, the safety of their routine is impacted, furthering distress.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ) is effective at helping persons on the autism spectrum identify their emotions and thus be able to regulate them. Therefore impulses are better controlled and behaviors are improved, leading to successes in home, school, professional and social settings. A well trained psychotherapist can help patients reduce problematic behaviors such as perseverative (repeating or prolonging an action long after the stimulus which created it has ceased) conversations, interruptions, meltdowns, or exaggerated displays of anger or panic.
It is imperative that a mental health therapist understand how to work with persons living on the autism spectrum in order for therapy to be effective. A cookie cutter approach will not help those on the autism spectrum and only further their emotional distress if they feel incapable of obtaining the skills being taught.
Therapists at Summit Mental Health Services (SMHS) recognize the need to custom tailor treatment to meet the needs of each individual on the autism spectrum. Our therapists utilize curriculums and resources from such think tanks and professionals as Social Thinking™, Social Stories by Carol Gray™, Dr. Tony Attwood’s works, and other resources that are communicated in visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning formats to maximize learning.
Ashlea Johnson, LCSW is also a first generation SibShop™ facilitator and works with siblings of children and adults on the autism spectrum.
Individual, family and group therapy formats are available to meet the various needs of our patients. Groups are only available when we have a set of patients with similar goals at the same time. Our office manager always has a list of current groups.