Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy approach that is based on seeking solutions to social problems that are caused by mental problems as well as anxiety disorders. The ability of cognitive behavioral therapy to improve individual social function makes it an ideal theory that can be applied when dealing with Asperger syndrome. By understanding that most psychological problems are caused by unhelpful behavior and thinking can help in the application of CBT model to improve the livelihood of people suffering from autism. Helping individuals with Asperger syndrome to develop and learn new approaches of coping can be used to improve the livelihoods of autism patients by reevaluating their problems to gain a better understanding of their behavior and also to develop the high sense of confidence amongst autism patients. The cognitive behavioral therapy is applicable in this case because it tries to change the behavioral patterns of individuals suffering from the disease which can help them to adopt new and more helpful behaviors. The CBT model application requires the therapist and the patient to work together in a collaborative approach to promote the understanding of the patient problems and possible solutions (Beck, 2011). This paper will assess different approaches that can be used to integrate cognitive behavioral therapy in providing care to people suffering from autism disorder.
Currently, the author is a social worker who attends to patients with autism in a church-based organization. Primary role and initiative in this position is to ensure teachers can learn necessary social skills that are used in addressing autism patient's problems. Parents also play a significant role in assessing and implementing the resolutions for the patient.
Cognitive behavior therapy can be used in creating therapeutic relationships for patients with Asperger syndrome. The theory requires therapy providers to use cognitive and behavioral interventions in care. A therapeutic relationship based on CBT involves the restructuring of the behavioral strategy to meet the patient needs. However, it is important to note that implementing an evidence-based solution such as CBT in building therapeutic relationships is challenging, the success of the CBT application in therapeutic relationships depends on the ability of a social worker to carry out self-assessment and patient assessment. As such, a working relationship between the therapist and the patient is necessary for successful behavioral treatment. Therefore, the therapeutic relationship can impact the results of behavioral treatment by creating solutions that are responsive to the therapeutic needs of the client. The primary challenge in providing therapeutic care is the need to create a new therapeutic relationship for every client. Patient in need of behavioral changes are in more need of personalized therapeutic solutions and application of cognitive behavioral therapy can improve the ability to create therapeutic relationships for autism disorder patients.
Self-Awareness in Therapeutic Relationships
Self-awareness refers to the process of creating an objective assessment of oneself, and it is an important tool in the establishment of the patient and the therapist relationship. Self-awareness is a continuous process to establish change and behaviors that promote the establishment of more successful therapeutic interventions. As a volunteer to take care of people with autism, self-awareness is an important approach to developing a positive therapeutic relationship with an Asperger syndrome condition. Poor self-awareness leads to the possible counter transference which is detrimental towards achieving a therapeutic relationship with autism. Through self-awareness, as an autism patients care, provider, it is important to provide a holistic assessment which promotes therapeutic healing through improved communication skills (Rasheed, 2015).
Patient Assessment in Creating Therapeutic Relationship and CBT
The process of patient assessment is very important in promoting a therapeutic relationship. Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the premise that the therapist understands the patient thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Autism patients are socially challenged due to thoughts and emotions that only they are aware of and they affect their behavior and physiological well-being. The therapeutic relationship between patient assessment is an important approach through which the therapist can be able to understand the thoughts and emotions of the patient. The assessment should promote patient and therapist bonding emotionally which helps the patient to open up to the therapist. A therapeutic relationship on the premise of cognitive behavioral therapy depends on the collaboration between the patient and the therapist (Evans-Jones, Peters, & Barker, 2009) In this case; the patient assessment will promote emotional bonding and the patient opening up to the therapist which helps to create solutions that are mutually agreeable. In the assessment, the therapist should seek to understand the expectations of the patient as well as the possible solutions that the patient has in mind. In the assessment, it is important for the therapist to make the patient comfortable and cooperative which is the line to the objectives of the therapeutic relationship. A therapeutic relationship is goal oriented and developed to promote collaborative therapy solutions for the patient with autism. Trust, empathy, and warmness should be developed in the patient assessment which helps to increase the patient engagement in the therapeutic process. Empathy in the patient assessment is more important because it determines the ability to increase patient cooperation (Ardito and Rabellino, 2011).
Tools for CBT Integration in Therapeutic Practice
General CBT Competencies
At the basic level, relationship informed CBT for a patient with autism requires assessment skills. Assessment skills are necessary for cognitive behavioral therapy to identify the thoughts of the patients and how they can influence the patient behavior. More importantly, the patient assessment as discussed earlier helps to create a therapeutic relationship and establish the expectations of the patient. Basic CBT competency should be able to discern the needs of the autism patient and engage the patient to create a more productive relationship. Engaging the patient helps in the understanding of the patient thoughts and emotions which further promotes the creation of a productive therapeutic relationship. Lastly, the basic CBT competency requires the therapist to show empathy, acceptance, and show an attitude of concern towards the patient.
The most advanced competency in creating a relationship that is informed by CBT is the Meta competencies level. At this level, the therapist should be able to show more advanced knowledge and skills for CBT integration in creating a therapeutic alliance with the patient. The therapist should be able to show competency in a wide range of issues at this stage. Through this advanced skills, one can be able to adapt to the needs of the patient. At this level, mindfulness thinking and use of critical thinking is necessary.
Benefits of Using CBT in Autism Patient Therapy
Collaborative Aspect of CBT
CBT is collaborative in that it requires the patient and the therapist to work together towards achieving a common objective. The objective is acquired during the patient assessment stage. Collaboration is very important in a model that requires a change in thoughts which leads to the change in emotions and behavior. The collaboration should be patient-focused working towards meeting the goal of the patient and not the goals of the therapists. The empirical collaboration between the patient and the therapist is essential in the overall treatment, and it is a source of primary change in the patient behavior. The success of the treatment significantly relies on the ability of the therapeutic relationship to create an environment that promotes the collaborative relationship between the patient and the therapist. The collaboration aspect of CBT is used by the therapist to identify the underlying thoughts and beliefs of the patient which helps in directing the treatment of emotional and behavioral problems (Beck, 2011).
Through the collaborative empiricism approach of CBT, the patient can learn new knowledge about themselves, identification of dysfunctional thoughts and coping strategies that will be effective in behavioral change. The collaborative perspective in CBT ensures that the patient is aware of the approach, ethical considerations, and rationale at the beginning of the treatment. The conversation between the autism patient, the family, and the therapist increases the effectiveness of the treatment by improving trust and also provides an opportunity for the patient to direct on the treatment procedures. The therapist during the collaboration sessions with the autism patient can get important feedback from the patient and also the therapist gives the patient important information. Lastly, the collaborative nature of the CBT is beneficial in creating a therapeutical relationship in it promotes balanced collaboration in the treatment journey and can help cultivate respect, responsiveness, and interest in both the autism patient and the therapist (Beck, 2011). Therefore, CBT is an important approach for improving therapeutical relationships experience and the treatment outcomes.
The CBT is a structured therapy care that requires the autism patient and the therapist to agree on a common goal before the treatment is engaged. Goal oriented approach helps to monitor progress and create any possible remedies and support mechanism to ensure the goal is achieved. The CBT approach requires active patient and therapist involvement and can be adapted to the individual needs which makes it possible to use the CBT approach in various therapy settings (Fenn & Byrne, 2013). The structured approach of the CBT helps to manage the relationship between the therapist and the patient to improve collaboration. The structured approach has a common goal for both the therapist and the autism patient which improved the therapeutic relationship.
CBT informed therapeutic relationships are essential in that they help the patient to create and express their expectations. The role of the therapist in a CBT informed therapy is to provide guidance and support the autism patient emotionally to achieve the desired behavioral change. The CBT model teaches the patients to be able to assess their therapeutical needs which makes it a long-term therapeutical intervention. The CBT model allows the therapist to help the patient to understand their thinking and behavior relationship and promote change in the autism patient's maladaptive cognitive skills and behavioral patterns which helps to improve the livelihood of the patient (Fenn & Byrne, 2013). When an autism patient can define their behavioral problems and gain skills that help in managing the problems through coping mechanism the patient can apply similar skills in all future problems.
Cognitive and Behavioral Techniques
Cognitive and behavioral techniques are used in CBT approach of therapy to create behavioral change. In the cognitive technique, CBT uses a guided discovery approach which helps in the identification of the patient's thoughts and emotions which is critical in creating an effective treatment goal. Besides, the guided discovery approach is used to identify patient's view on alternative solutions for their problems and underlying assumptions that cannot be overlooked.
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