What is Autism-Informed Therapy?
AIT is simply therapy that sees Autistic Neurodiversity positively rather than as a problem, and adapts therapeutic approaches & goals to the particular ways autistic people process the world, especially the social world. Autism-Informed practitioners also acknowledge the reality that the main problems most autistic clients bring to therapy (anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, addictions, PTSD etc) are the result of having had to adjust in unhealthy ways to a largely unaccepting world.
Elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy make a good foundation, being structured, educational, experimental, & explicit in its rationale, as well as issue-, skill-, & outcome-focused.
AIT also needs to be Person-Centred in the sense of valuing the individual & their personal life goals, & Strengths-Focused to counteract the invalidation & stigma experienced by many autistic people.
A framework of Evolutionary Theory can also be helpful, as it assumes that diversity in populations is the norm, not the exception.
Why is it needed?
As more children are being identified as autistic, more adults are also realising that being “on the spectrum” may make a lot of sense of their life experiences and struggles. Whether they come to therapy to get help in processing this realisation, or whether they are already in therapy for secondary issues such as Social Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Addictions, OCD, etc, allowance must be made for their autistic personality & thinking.
Open Mind Therapy, Naas, Co. Kildare
Insight Matters, Dublin 1
Online therapy options available
About Eoin (see eoinstephens.com)
Eoin Stephens MA, MIACP, MACI is a Counsellor/Psychotherapist and lecturer/trainer who has worked in the area of mental health for over 30 years, specialising in an individualised Case Formulation approach to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
He is particularly known for his work in the field of behavioural addictions, and was awarded the IACP Carl Berkeley Memorial Award in 2010.
Eoin is currently focusing a lot of his attention on understanding the problems faced by autistic adults & their specific therapeutic needs. He is himself autistic, having made the discovery in late adulthood.