How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work With Autism?

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work With Autism?

Ever heard of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? It's a known method used to tackle issues like anxiety and depression. But did you know CBT can also help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder? In this article, let's learn more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how it can benefit those with autism. 

What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is about understanding how our thoughts, behaviours, and feelings are connected. It helps break those negative cycles we get stuck in by showing how our thoughts affect our actions and moods. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, people learn to recognise, question, and change those negative thought patterns using proven techniques. While it was initially used mainly for treating depression, studies now show it's helpful for many other mental health issues, too.

How Does CBT Work With Autism?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be beneficial for autism, too. While you might wonder if they can understand and express their thoughts, research suggests they can. A study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders indicates that autistic children are capable of accurately reporting their feelings of depression and anxiety. This finding suggests that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be used to teach children coping skills and address challenging behaviours.

During these therapy sessions, the therapist will create a structured plan tailored to your child's needs. They may use role-playing and relaxation techniques to help your child develop effective coping mechanisms. It's important to note that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy isn't only helpful in addressing issues commonly associated with Autism, but it can also assist in managing challenges specific to Autism itself.

Benefits Of CBT

1. Anxiety

    Many autistic children experience anxiety, which can significantly impact their overall well-being. Fortunately, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has shown promise in treating anxiety in autistic individuals. Research by Wood et al. (2015) found that adolescents who underwent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy showed significant improvements in anxiety symptoms compared to those who did not.

    2. Daily Living Skills

      Autistic individuals may struggle with everyday tasks like personal hygiene or managing school activities. A study by Drahota et al. (2011) explored the effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on the daily living skills of autistic children. Results showed that children in the treatment group improved personal and total daily living skills and reduced dependence on routines.

      3. Social Skills

        Social challenges are common among autistic children, including difficulties starting and maintaining conversations. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques like psychoeducation and role-playing can help improve social functioning in children with Autism. Research by Laugeson & Park (2014) suggests that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can enhance children's social skills, peer interactions, and responsiveness.

        4. Emotional Dysregulation

          Many autistic children struggle with emotional regulation, leading to frequent outbursts and mood swings. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy strategies have been effective in helping children manage their emotions. Scarpa & Reyes (2011) found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can assist in anger and anxiety management, developing coping strategies, and reducing negativity.


          In conclusion, by understanding the connection between thoughts, behaviours, and feelings, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy equips autistic children with effective coping skills and strategies to navigate various challenges. Through evidence-based techniques and guidance from trained therapists, parents can enhance the quality of life and well-being of their autistic children. 

          Another beneficial approach to aid individuals with Autism, particularly during childhood, is to offer natural support. Nisarga Herbs' Nurosmart Syrup is crafted to enhance cognitive health in children. Formulated with a blend of natural ingredients, this Ayurvedic brain tonic effectively reduces hyperactivity and improves concentration. Nurosmart Syrup provides a gentle, side-effect-free solution for promoting optimal brain development, making it ideal for hyperactive kids and those facing attention and memory challenges. For additional products with similar benefits, visit Nisarga Herbs' website.

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          Dr. Arati Soman

          Dr. Arati Soman is a seasoned Ayurvedic physician and Head Formulator at Nisarga Herbs. Driven by a deep passion for Ayurveda and vast expertise, she has been instrumental in formulating medicines, diagnostic procedures, and innovative Ayurvedic treatments that are trusted globally.