BABCP | British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies > Conferences > National Conferences and Workshops > Spring Workshops 2023 > Workshop 3

Workshop 3

Tuesday 18 April: 9.30am - 12.30pm

Adapting CBT for autistic people

Dr Ailsa Russell and Dr Kate Cooper, University of Bath


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Autistic people are disproportionately affected by mental health problems, particularly anxiety and depression.  Cognitive-behavioural interventions have been found to be effective in treating co-occurring mental health problems if adapted to meet the needs of autistic people.  

In this workshop, we will consider the challenges for autistic people in accessing CBT and how adaptations to the style and content of CBT interventions can overcome these. We will present the range of adaptations that can be helpful and consider the need for a flexible approach.   The focus will be autistic adults who do not have an associated intellectual disability.  

This workshop aims to improve therapist knowledge about and confidence in working with autistic people. The intended learning outcomes may also be helpful in adapting practice for people with social communication difficulties who do not have a formal diagnosis. 

Key learning objectives:
1. To become familiar with the main adaptations to CBT that can improve accessibility for autistic people.
2. To understand the rationale underpinning the adaptations
3. To become familiar with the evidence base for autism adapted CBT
4. To become more confident to adapt CBT practice for autistic people

Dr Ailsa Russell is a clinical psychologist and reader and Dr Kate Cooper is a clinical psychologist and lecturer who are both based at the Centre for Applied Autism Research, Department of Psychology, University of Bath. Dr Russell and Dr Cooper are both involved in research aimed at improving understanding and treatment of mental health problems experienced by autistic people. 

Cooper, K., Loades, M.E. and Russell, A. (2018) Adapting psychological therapies for Autism Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 45; 43-50 


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