A private London clinic integrating psychiatry and psychology

Therapy with Autistic Adults

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Why do Autistic Adults need therapy?

Autism spectrum disorder affects how a person acts, learns, and expresses themselves. While individuals with ASD can share symptoms in common, each individual is different and so are their strengths and difficulties.

The core difficulties of ASD are difficulty with reciprocal social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and restrictive or repetitive interests and/or a resistance to change. Additionally, people on the autistic spectrum may have sensory sensitivities and and executive functioning difficulties.

While there is no immediate treatment for autism spectrum disorder per se, we can offer target social skills interventions as well as treatment of alexithymia (the inability to recognize or describe one's own emotions), mood disorders, helping you understand yourself better and make adjustments in your life, making recommendations for reasonable adjustments at work or at college/university, help with self-harm, OCD, social anxiety and reduce stress overall. We can also offer anger management and neurodivergent couples or family therapy.

What kind of therapies do we offer, and how do they work?

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can be effective in helping children and adults. During CBT sessions, patients learn about the connections between feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. This may help to identify the thoughts and feelings that trigger negative behaviours.

CBT is particularly beneficial in helping people with autism manage anxiety. It can also help them to better recognize emotions in others and cope better in social situations.

Social skills training

Social skills training (SST) is a way for people to develop social skills. For those with autism, interacting with others is very difficult. This can lead to many challenges over time.

Someone undergoing SST learns basic social skills, including how to carry on a conversation, understand humour, and read emotional cues. While it’s generally used in children, SST may also be effective for teenagers and young adults in their early 20s.

Medication used in ASD

There aren’t any medications specifically designed to treat autism. However, several medications used for other conditions that may occur with autism might help with certain symptoms.

Medications used to help manage autism fall into several main categories:

  • Antipsychotics. Some newer antipsychotic medications may help with aggression, self-harm, and behavioural problems. These include risperidone and aripiprazole.
  • Antidepressants. These may be useful for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety in people with autism.
  • Stimulants. Stimulants, such as methylphenidate (Ritalin), are generally used to treat ADHD, but they may also help with overlapping autism symptoms, including inattention and hyperactivity.
  • Anticonvulsants. Some people with autism also have epilepsy, so antiseizure medications are sometimes prescribed.

What are the outcomes?

There is currently no one standard treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) but there are many ways to help minimize the symptoms and maximize abilities. People who have ASD have the best chance of using all of their abilities and skills if they receive appropriate therapies and interventions.

Many people with ASD benefit from treatment, no matter what their age when they are when they are diagnosed. People of all ages, at all levels of ability, can often improve after well-designed interventions.

The most effective therapies and interventions are often different for each person. However, most people with ASD respond best to highly structured and specialized programs. In some cases, treatment can greatly reduce symptoms and help people with autism with daily activities.

References

Autism. Overview and More. <https://www.verywellhealth.com/autism-overview-4582004> (Accessed 7 February 2022)

Autism Treatment Guide. <https://www.healthline.com/health/autism-treatment> (Accessed 7 February 2022)

Autism Spectrum Disorder. <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/a-parents-guide-to-autism-spectrum-disorder/index.shtml> (Accessed 7 February 2022)

Staff

We have an expert team of Clinical Psychologists who are well versed at working with Adults with ASD.

DrMaria Jalmbrant

Contact and Appointments

If you are seeking an appointment with a psychiatrist, you should discuss this first with your GP to obtain a referral. Referrals are also accepted from clinical psychologists and counsellors.

Once you have your referral, please do contact us via our Enquiry Form and one of our team will be in touch without delay.

Overseas referrals are warmly welcomed. We do also see individuals without a family doctor (GP), and we can help you find a private or NHS family doctor.