Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Autism

Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Together, the therapist, the person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and/or the parents come up with specific goals for the course of therapy. Throughout the sessions, the person with autism learns to identify and change thoughts that lead to problem feelings or behaviors in particular situations.1,2

Cognitive behavior therapy is structured into specific phases of treatment. However, it is also individualized to patients' strengths and weaknesses. Research shows that this therapy helps people with some types of ASD deal with anxiety. It can also help some people with autism cope with social situations and better recognize emotions.


  1. Lang, R., Regester, A., Lauderdale, S., Ashbaugh, K., & Haring, A. (2010). Treatment of anxiety in autism spectrum disorders using cognitive behavior therapy: A systematic review. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 13(1), 53–63.
  2. Danial, J. T., & Wood, J. J. (2013). Cognitive behavioral therapy for children with autism: Review and considerations for future research. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 34(9), 702–715. Retrieved August 17, 2016, from
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