Counseling Autistic Clients

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Othering feigns inclusion while incarcerating marginalized individuals within their nominal position of power on the social hierarchy. It essentializes by portraying dominant cultural ideologies as the one, true, legitimate knowledge.
Terry McVannel Erwin
People with autism and Asperger's are far more likely to benefit from cognitive behavior therapy than from generic 'tell me about your feelings' therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy helps people reexamine their attitudes and build new skills for coping
Rosie Mestel
To date there have been few accounts of psychotherapeutic work with individuals with autistic conditions such as Asperger syndrome, yet this group often presents with high levels of psychological distress and confusion which they find difficult to communicate to others. The use of clinical assessment techniques derived from personal construct psychology is described and four case studies are presented to illustrate the potential utility of this approach. The advantages and disadvantages of such an approach are discussed.
Dougal Julian Hare et al
Couples have reported feeling not understood, not heard and having their problems trivialised. Some women have been told by the counsellor that their AS partner's behaviour was simply being male!
Maxine Aston
The therapeutic task is... gradually to draw the child away from the barren and stultifying, but nevertheless safe world that he or she has created, into a world in which relationships, rather than meaningless rituals and totems, are what sustain life.
Mervi-Marja Mero
People with Apserger's syndrome understand and respond to the world in a very different way from other people. Individual psychotherapy can be an important approach, in addition to other therapies and case management, for children with Asperger's syndrome. A frame of reference for the therapeutic relationship with Asperger individuals is described. This addresses the perspective of those with Asperger's as well as the perspective of others in their lives. The cognitive concepts theory of mind, central coherence, and executive functioning are briefly reviewed with an emphasis on how they help us to understand the Asperger mind, and with examples of their presentation and use in clinical assessment and psychotherapy. Perspective, intention, and awareness, as they relate to the therapeutic interventions, are illustrated with brief vignettes.
Paula Jacobsen
I am a psychotherapist from Bellevue, Washington who works with children and adults with issues such as ADD, TS, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, and Bipolar Disorder.
George Lynn
Like other treatments for depression, cognitive behaviour therapy seems to help by modulating the function of specific sites in the limbic and cortical regions of the brain. However, they proposed that the difference in the direction of the changes in brain activity may reflect specific effects relating to the type of treatment.
Sue Mayor, British Medical Journal
We found evidence that CBT is a feasible treatment option in high-functioning children with ASD. Some children experienced improvements in coping strategies for anxiety promoting situations, behaviour, and social interaction after CBT. However, the lack of reliable controlled studies makes it impossible to attribute these effects to CBT, or to compare effects of CBT with other interventions.
Alicia White
The belief in a biological basis for autism has rightfully removed blame from parents and their styles of upbringing. No individual method of therapy which persists in seeing the cause of autism as psychogenic is recommended.
National Autistic Society
I've found that when my clients lock up and remain stuck in a preservative thought pattern it is best to process the dynamic itself rather than attempt to return to content. Until we both process the effect of the dynamic itself, we can't make any forward progress. I've also found that when this occurs, initially enlisting the aid of the other spouse to redirect the conversation doesn't help. The counselor's intervention should be directly focused on a direct interaction with the client without the presence of a third party. There is too much opportunity for distraction or a likely desire to "say the right thing" rather than to focus on how the right thing is being expressed.
Roger Meyer
I have a very eclectic approach in working with "people with." As you might imagine, as a person "with" myself, there are some constitutional impediments. But they are more than compensated for by having learned in the school of life's hard knocks. Whoever says we don't have common sense is a bit daft: they simply haven't met the same folks I have, nor could they spot common sense if it bit them on the nose. What to some is common sense is plain gibberish to others, but in working with Asperger Syndrome (AS) adults I've learned never to assume anything and to approach each person with as much of an open mind as possible.
Roger N. Meyer
Lecture outline; a .pdf file of a Powerpoint presentation
Digby Tantam
...the rage, insecurity, frustration and general tedium of having to live in a sometimes brutal and inept commercial managerial environment should elicit the kind of conduct from which mental health professionals (therapists) make their living.
Christopher J. Willoughby
It is helpful to clinicians working with children and adolescents to understand the spectrum of alien or extraterrestrial culture.
Sandra Fisman
Counselors are trained to deal with many issues within the realm of human experience; many specialize in helping families cope with a variety of internal and external stressors. However, counselors are seldom given all the tools to handle the myriad possible difficulties families may encounter. When counselors are asked to help families cope with a specific issue, they must take into account all of the individual member's experience within that family and help facilitate change within the system. This "communication dance" continues in therapy until counselor and family develop appropriate strategies that work within that family's structure. However, this dance can be difficult when neither the counselor nor the family understands what they are seeing. Such is the case when providing services for families with a child with Asperger's syndrome. This article discusses the symptoms of Asperger's and provides counselors with clinical strategies for working with families dealing with this disorder.
Bettina Lozzi-Toscano
The Asperger counseling network is for counselors and psychotherapists with an interest in working with people affected by Asperger syndrome.
When working with persons with autism, the pacing and intention of the counselor and others involved with the person are critical. Individuals with HFA/AS have extraordinary antennae for sensing the existence of hidden agendas and unstated presuppositions. While they may not know what the other person's agendas are, they do know "that" they are, and this sixth sense, expressed often in hypervigilance or a variety of distancing and cautionary behaviors and expressions is a hallmark of the initial moments of the intervention. Failed understanding of this feature of autism leaves the counselor no room for error. Individuals with autism often respond from the point of view formed with their first impression regardless of changes in the following moments. Once an unintended, often unsensed barrier is created in the first moments of contact with a person with HFA/AS, it may be virtually impossible to "undo" the mindset of that person.
Roger N. Meyer
Meta-analyses based on flawed studies or studies that lack demonstrated assay sensitivity are also inadequate for the criticism of treatment guidelines. Some bodies of data are inadequate to support a proper metaanalysis
Donald Klein
You are going to find that many of your tools don't work for a person with AS. If there is to be a working relationship, you must first understand my vocabulary and my logic to determine whether we are on the same page. At this point we aren't. I know what you "say;" I simply don't understand. There is no third party payment scheme that allows me to ignore the fact that your time is "worth" over twenty times per hour more than what I earn when I am working in the employ of others.
Roger N. Meyer
I have developed a specialty in treating children with learning disorders, AD/HD and autism spectrum disorders and I work with their families as well, to assist in parenting and adjustment issues.
The grieving processes of people with autism are profoundly affected by their disabilities. Skilled support has been an important factor in enabling individuals to reach a resolution of grief.
Helen Green Allison
The grieving processes of people with autism are profoundly affected by their disabilities. Skilled support has been an important factor in enabling individuals to reach a resolution of grief.
Helen Green Allison
Clients with AS will require more time to cognitively process explanations and new strategies. They will need a clear, structured and systematic approach with shorter but more frequent therapy and practice sessions.
Tony Attwood
CBT has direct applicability to clients with Asperger's syndrome who are known to have deficits and distortions in thinking. Clinicians need to know how to modify standard psychological treatments in order to accommodate an unusual cognitive profile.
Tony Attwood
Through developing an understanding of oppression as a common theme among all of us with psychiatric labels, we discover the ways in which people have been marginalized by their culture, as opposed to seeing us simply as "insane."
Shery Mead, David Hilton
Examines the ways in which the professions of psychotherapy and clinical psychology have adopted the powerful discourses of eugenics and medicine. In so doing they have acted in ways which oppress rather than liberate those who require their services.
Craig Newnes
People with psychiatric disabilities have been viewed historically as incapable of recovery. However, recent data suggest that many people do recover and go on to fulfilling and contributing lives in their communities. These new data have important implications for teaching students who will be working with people with psychiatric disabilities.
LeRoy Spaniol
The cognitive behavioural emphasis on thinking can be useful to people with A/AS, whose ability to understand, recognise, label or express feelings in a way which conveys the meaning to others, is impaired.
Sue Prestwood
Consider these specific factors and the unique assets and needs of the grieving person: mental age, calendar age, previous life experiences, preferred communication mode.
California Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities Center
Rigidity in both behavior and thinking is a major characteristic of people with autism/AS. They have difficulty understanding the concept that sometimes it is OK to break a rule.
Temple Grandin
Children should be introduced to the concept of ignoring. Focusing tools are often relaxation techniques which also provide additional sensory input that may help the child to stop distracting, self-stimulating behaviors.
Harriet Arnold
Since so-called psychotherapy is a form of education, not therapy, you need not a doctor or therapist but a person who is qualified to educate in the area of living in which you are having difficulty.
Lawrence Stevens
While the questions the author poses relate to adults in a professional relationship, they can just as easily apply to professionals working with children.
Victoria Nichols

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