Malaika Pamela Fernandes
University of Machester, United Kingdom
Malaika Fernandes is pursuing her Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (2nd year) at University of Manchester, United Kingdom. She is 25 years of age. She is currently working as a trainee counselling psychologist with Elysium Healthcare Services (Gateway Recovery Centre) on a autism specialist ward . Her primary interests are neuropsychology, accessibility to counselling in developing countries and psycho-oncology. Most of her work has been with individuls with autism.
Psychologists working within the field of autism spectrum conditions (ASC) were slow to adopt psychotherapeutic approaches that are widely used in able populations. Individuals with an ASC are at risk for developing comorbid mental health disorders. Although anxiety is not listed as a criterion for those on the spectrum, it has been found to be as one of the common comorbidities with anxiety being the most common and and it has been difficult to tease apart anxiety from ASC symptoms. Current literature suggests that though there are psychological interventions available for ASC, they are only being modified and implemented with children or at-least they are the only ones that are being researched and articulated about. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been increasingly used for with high functioning children and adults on the autism spectrum. Over the past 17 years, there has been an increase in empirical evidence of CBT as an approach working with anxiety in individuals with ASC. The goal of this paper is to critically reflect on the application of CBT for individuals with ASC and also trying to understand ASC at a deeper reflexive level. This paper proposes the implementation of therapeutic practice with ASC from a pluralistic framework and presents some implications for future development.