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Do You Think Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Is Good In Autistic People?

Irakus34

Just someone else in this world.
Hi.

I've just thought that cognitive behavioural therapy is so well used among psychologists because it's a very useful therapy against anxiety, depression, phobias, etc.

However, even though it has helped me to be where I am today by fighting and exposing myself to my fears, it has also helped me undoubtedly to mask all my traits up to the limit of severe burnouts and shutdowns, not to learn to live with my traits and find a balance within me.

So now I have a doubt if it's recommended in autistic people or if it totally depends on the person themself instead of being autistic or not.

What do you think? If you can give me information, I'd be really glad, thank you.
 

Magna

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I tried a form of CBT called ACT and did not find it helpful at all. Any type of therapy where I'm supposed to picture myself as something or someone else. Nope. Doesn't work. From what I recall the ACT was something like: "Picture yourself as a raft floating down a river." Not picture yourself ON a raft, but picture yourself AS a raft. No. Great that it helps some other people but, no.

I have seen a few people on here say that CBT was effective for them so..."Different strokes for different folks" I guess.
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
It can be.

I am watching Chris Hemsworth's new series "Limitless". Each episode, he goes through a form of CBT,...mind-body training, in order to go through some rather incredible, extreme situations. Now, very, very few of us need to be subjected to the types of stimuli that Chris does in this series,...but more down-to-Earth, day-to-day things that we struggle with,...yes. I think it could be useful if it is approached from a more "occupational" or "life skills" goal setting.

 

Crossbreed

Neur-D Missionary ☝️
V.I.P Member
Looking at my daughter's special education, I believe it is effective for co-morbids and other surrounding issues (like potty training), but misguided for trying to turn an autistic into an NT.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I started down the path of CBT by myself, but found that it went off into non-productive directions. Instead, for my PTSD, I have been guided through Cognitive Processing Therapy where I have had to deconstruct, examine, and rebuild my ideas of myself. It has worked in eliminating triggers and directing me in being the best of myself.
 

Yeshuasdaughter

You know, that one lady we met that one time.
V.I.P Member
Yes and no. It has its benefits and drawbacks. I did it for PTSD. I learned the difference between thoughts and feelings, and how to organize my thoughts during panic.

But also, all that dredging up of the past was extremely traumatic, and that regurgitating of past horrors was worse for me, personally, than the good that the therapy did, in helping me to cope.

I am glad that I did that therapy, but I wish I didn't have to relive all that yuck to achieve that level of healing and coping skills.

You see, my anxiety is always driven by actual events whether past, current, or anticipated. I think NTs and possibly some NDs too, get anxiety as sort of a neurosis, without external stimuli. And so it's more effective for them. But for me, every time I'm paralyzed in fear, it's because something awful is happening, or something reminds me of a bad thing in my past.

Otherwise, I'm nearly always a positive thinker.
 

Captain Jigglypuff

Leader of the Jigglypuff Army
V.I.P Member
It didn’t work for me but that is mostly because at the time I had some more serious issues and problems that needed to be addressed more and changing the way I thought about things weren’t going to help me. For context I was dealing with being abused and gaslit without knowing it and having horrible things scream at me that made me actually hate everything about myself and I was trying to repress some pretty horrible memories from high school that I needed to talk about them more than I needed to do worksheets that told me that “life is easy.” Being more mindful definitely wasn’t going to help me not to get verbally and emotionally abused and hit because the dishwasher left spots on the drinking glasses.
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
CBT... Cognitive behavioral therapy. You can sum it up thusly:

Change what you can, accept what you cannot, and know the difference. If you cannot change something, change your attitude towards it and adapt to it - but don't stop looking for opportunities to change a bad situation. CBT acknowledges the past but focuses on the present.

Not changing what can be changed is a form of executive dysfunction. It requires a certain activation energy to get over the hump of inaction. Doing what you know you should do. CBT helps you work through the obstacles you have placed in front of yourself.

The bigger difficulty comes with accepting that which you cannot change. "I can't possibly accept (fill in the blank)!" seems to be a universal human trait, yet probably the biggest cause of both private and cultural misery.

People think that accepting something means they approve of it - or that you are letting someone "off the hook." Not true. It means you have accepted that there's nothing you can do about it and you move on. It also means you realize the other person is not "on the hook" for what they did and there is nothing you can do about that. All that anger in your head for the injustice you suffered? Let it go. It only hurts you and puts the other guy in charge of your life even when they are long gone.


Autism isn't a mental illness as such. There's nothing CBT can do to make you less autistic and nothing it can do to change the attitudes around you. It can help you change your attitudes toward what happens to you. It can help you adapt so that fewer bad things happen and make you more resilient when they do. It works on disorders like chronic anxiety, depression, anger, self-defeating behaviors, and such.

CBT is an offshoot of Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. (REBT) In turn, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an offshoot of CBT for more intensely emotional people.


 

Gracey

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm not sure which 'BT worked for my anxiety ?
Am I cured? Nope.
But am able to function and go out to work to earn money to pay the bills.
- as opposed to previously being too afraid to venture outside of the house.

It's an ongoing process. I still use some methods everyday.
Fundamentally I'm still the same person I ever was.
Now I have added knowledge and coping skills for when I get into a pickle.
Eventually and over time with repeated use my neurology will change 'new skills' into a habit.
But only in a targeted or specific action or area.
Not on the whole.
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Yes and no. It has its benefits and drawbacks. I did it for PTSD. I learned the difference between thoughts and feelings, and how to organize my thoughts during panic.

But also, all that dredging up of the past was extremely traumatic, and that regurgitating of past horrors was worse for me, personally, than the good that the therapy did, in helping me to cope.

I am glad that I did that therapy, but I wish I didn't have to relive all that yuck to achieve that level of healing and coping skills.

You see, my anxiety is always driven by actual events whether past, current, or anticipated. I think NTs and possibly some NDs too, get anxiety as sort of a neurosis, without external stimuli. And so it's more effective for them. But for me, every time I'm paralyzed in fear, it's because something awful is happening, or something reminds me of a bad thing in my past.

Otherwise, I'm nearly always a positive thinker.
Ideally, you would want to get to a place where the bad thing in the past has lost its emotional impact.

Yup. "X" happened. Very bad deal but there is nothing to be done for it now. Time to move on.

The stress in PTSD is not under control of the higher brain. It is hiding down in the limbic system and the amygdala. It is a reflex that replays the original trauma when an environmental cue triggers it. Maybe a plane flying low overhead causes a New Yorker to relive the emotions of 9-11 and the WTC. A loud noise causes a vet to dive for cover. A man with a specific appearance or behavior brings back the terror of rape.

I don't mean to minimize it, but it is a conditioned reflex created by the trauma. I don't think that CBT is the optimal therapy for PTSD. A subset of CBT, Stress Inoculation Training, (SIT) deals with PTSD and doesn't involve reliving the event but focuses on eliminating the stress. But it isn't the only school of PTSD therapy in town.

 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
CBT did not help with my PTSD, depression or anxiety, or anything else.
I’m going to try EMDR because it seems to have worked for a lot of people I know.

Talking about what happened is cathartic to an extent, but I trust very few people with the detailed stories (and they make people want to throw up) so I mostly keep it bottled up which I know isn’t healthy.

Hopefully I can find a therapist who specializes in EMDR and hopefully I’ll be able to afford it.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I choose not to look at CBT in nebulous terms of "good or bad", but rather to lament that for some it works, while for others it doesn't. Whether one is autistic or not.

It didn't work for me in terms of helping me with the origins of my OCD, or the PTSD considerations it involved that I was helped to become aware of. Deliberately revisiting what continues to momentarily traumatize me simply did not result in my overcoming such issues.

Even while I am aware of irrational thoughts under certain circumstances even for very brief moments. They still take their toll on me. It just happens, much like my clinical depression.
 
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Captain Jigglypuff

Leader of the Jigglypuff Army
V.I.P Member
I think the fact that I was being abused but it was done in such a way that people didn’t suspect anything immediately wrong unless they looked closer is part of why I couldn’t accept CBT’s teaching or allow it to work for me. I mean why would I want to accept the fact that I’m being hit for hanging a shirt incorrectly on a plastic hanger only to have the shirt ripped off the hanger and both thrown at me? I knew that I couldn’t change my abuser and make her stop screaming at me and hitting me over very insignificant events.

I couldn’t change anything because complaining and telling my abuser how she made me feeling like I was a horrible person for “ruining” her life and that I didn’t deserve to be happy or have good things happen to me was as effective as setting a mouse loose to try and kill a cat and telling her no and refusing to go with her whenever she wanted me to go anywhere with her just lead to more screaming and hitting. I couldn’t lock myself in my apartment and refuse to come out and never see her again because she had the keys to unlock the main door and then my apartment door and could come and go as she pleased without any warning. I had no car or friends to drive away from her and stay in hiding at a friend’s house because she isolated me from others and made sure that I never had access to a car. I was stuck in this very toxic and abusive relationship and the only real way to escape was to either get the police involved or get committed to some emergency shelter for a mental health and safety crisis center because hospitalization wasn’t necessary and neither would fully work because my abuser would find me still. Changing the locks would only make her furious. Ignoring her phone calls was even worse as she got screaming mad if the cordless phone battery died in the middle of a call with me and she’d immediately take it as me hanging up on her on purpose.

Yeah being mindful was never going to help me one bit when I was living in fear of upsetting my abuser and I was also so anxious whenever she was around that caseworkers, my roommates, dad, and even therapist noticed how scared I became whenever she was in the room and only relaxed when she was gone. I couldn’t change the fact that I was being abused, accepting that fact and allowing it to happen was definitely not an option or even a healthy one at that, and the reason I had negative thoughts about myself was because I was being abused and gaslit horribly and was constantly being told what a horrible person I was to be around and that I “ruin” the lives of people constantly. No amount of CBT is ever going to fix that mess while it is happening and any progress if any being made is going to ripped apart with the reminder of how your abuser “sacrificed” their entire life on you and you are nothing but a f-ing lying a** b**** that doesn’t appreciate their life or deserve nice things and you are ruining their life with your lies before the abuser hits you again for what is probably the eighth time that day. This is what was literally happening to me when I was trying out CBT and I couldn’t exactly tell anyone because that would make my abuser look “bad” and cause her to abuse me even more when we were alone. And she’d make sure nobody believed anything I said by claiming that literally everything I said was a complete lie and no one should trust anything that I said and that she’s the only one telling the truth. If I tried to defend myself, she’d say “Look! There he goes again lying! You heard him lie just now and can’t say that he didn’t!”
 

Magna

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
CBT did not help with my PTSD, depression or anxiety, or anything else.
I’m going to try EMDR because it seems to have worked for a lot of people I know.

Talking about what happened is cathartic to an extent, but I trust very few people with the detailed stories (and they make people want to throw up) so I mostly keep it bottled up which I know isn’t healthy.

Hopefully I can find a therapist who specializes in EMDR and hopefully I’ll be able to afford it.
EMDR coupled with a very capable trauma therapist who administered it really helped me with my PTSD from violent trauma and my CPTSD from childhood trauma. It's not an understatement to say that the EMDR/trauma therapy changed my life for the better. Also, my therapist just did the EMDR during the regular sessions so it wasn't any costlier than it was for the therapy sessions overall.

I hope the same for you, Luca!
 

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