Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

At the Autism Discovery Institute, therapists work with children (7-17 years old) and their caregivers to meet the unique cognitive and behavioral needs of autistic youth, including challenges related to flexibility, social skills, emotion regulation, anxiety, or depression.  Using evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) strategies, families learn a set of skills to help children identify thoughts and feelings that may be overwhelming, to learn ways to manage those thoughts and feelings, and then gradually apply skills they’ve learned to daily situations.

In CBT the therapist, child, and caregiver identify shared goals and then learn and practice new skills to meet those goals during weekly therapy sessions and at home. Caregivers support their child in regular practice of skills throughout the week via home-practice assignments in order to help them generalize what they learn across settings and situations. The ultimate goal is to build your and your child’s confidence in using these skills regularly without the ongoing support of the therapist.  Collaboration between the child, caregiver, and therapist during sessions and practicing at home are essential to making progress.

Is CBT at ADI a good fit for my child?

  • CBT at ADI is a talk-based therapy that requires a child to be able to engage in back-and-forth conversation with an adult. It is important that your child is able to communicate about their emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
  • CBT at ADI is not a good fit for children seeking help with psychosis, hallucinations, or eating disorders. Commonly addressed concerns in CBT at ADI include anxiety, depression, social skills, flexibility, and managing anger or frustration.