CBT for Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the term used to describe a number of conditions that typically affect a person’s social interactions, behaviour and ability to learn.

What is Autism?

Autism is not a disease, and therefore, it cannot be “cured.” ASD does, however, affect every individual differently. Autism affects one out of every 100 people, and there are approximately 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.

With effective treatments and therapies, people on the autism spectrum can receive meaningful assistance and successfully integrate the disorder into their daily lives.

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Spot the signs of Autism

In simple terms, people with autism can find it challenging and sometimes overwhelming to navigate their world. Common, everyday situations can feel confusing and uncomfortable.

Though every person on the ASD spectrum is a unique individual with skills and challenges of their own, they often display similar characteristics across a number of categories. 

Social environments such as school, work, friendships and family may be stressful and can lead to behaviors such as defiance, shutting down, social missteps, avoidance, or agitation.

Being able to relate to and understand others can be confusing for autistic people. When they don’t understand the same social or non-verbal cues that other people do, the disconnect can cause anxiety and distress — sometimes over seemingly minor issues.

  • To avoid the discomfort of confusing social engagement, autistic people may choose to engage in activities that they understand and are comfortable doing, even when others find the activity “boring” or “repetitive.”

  • Children and adults with Autism often find that the behaviours they use to cope with their discomfort are misunderstood as being “naughty” or “rude.”

Common types of behaviour in children with autism

Some children with autism may act out in ways that can be very stressful for the child and their loved ones.

Some autistic youngsters may also exhibit verbal or physical aggression.

Their actions could be damaging to them or to others. However keep in mind that every autistic child is unique, so not every day will be difficult or stressful. 

Why these behaviours may occur in autistic children?

Many autistic children implement a set of behaviours to assist them in handling their emotions and making sense of their surroundings. They are sometimes done for fun. It is important to understand that these behaviours are no fault of their own or the caregivers. 

Among the things that can be linked to these behaviours are: 

Testing & Treatment of Autism

Whilst people with autism share certain difficulties, ASD affects each individual uniquely. Testing and diagnosis are the first, crucial step in ensuring your child receives meaningful help and assistance from the very start. 

Though ASD can be challenging for the whole family, the good news is that there are a large number of effective treatment options. These may include a combination of some or all of the following:

Exploring Your Child’s Individual Needs

Emotional & Social Education

For the ADOS-2, the treatment plan for ASD could include:

Related Diagnoses

Asperger’s is an outdated term once used to diagnose high functioning autism in people who demonstrate traits of Autism, but who don’t show any signs of developmental speech delay. The terminology is no longer used in treatment or diagnosis.

People with Autism may also demonstrate symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome or ticks experienced as involuntary repetitive movements or vocalisations. Treatment is available and can be integrated into your son or daughter’s individual treatment plan.

Treatment for Autism

Autism doesn’t need to devastate your child’s confidence or your family harmony. With the right assistance, people with autism live fulfilling, successful lives and learn to integrate the diagnosis as one part of who they are as an individual.

To begin the process we offer a ‘Triage appointment’ before a full assessment. Meet with one of our specialist clinicians to review your concerns, screen for the common signs of Autism and ADHD and get an overview of your current situation. Importantly, this ensures we put you on the right path in terms of your assessment plan, signposting or recommendations for further support. Reach out to us today or easily schedule your Triage appointment by clicking below.

**We provide Autism Assessment for 7+ years and for ADHD 12+ years.

Book an appointment

All clinicians at Oxford CBT practice Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or are Psychologists, providing evidence-based interventions and support for Autism and a range of other conditions for both young people and adults. If you would like more information, please visit our FAQ’s page or if you have a question that is not listed please get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 01865 920077.

Clinicians who specialize in treating Autism

Our team of qualified clinicians specialise in helping people with all forms of anxiety. This includes Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Sleep Problems, work stress and PTSD.

Take an ASD self-assessment Quiz

Complete screening questionnaire and we will connect you with a therapist according to your needs and requirement criteria.

FAQ's About CBT Autism

Does CBT Help With Autism?

Yes, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be beneficial for individuals with autism. While CBT is primarily known for its effectiveness in treating various mental health conditions, it has also shown promise in addressing the unique challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum.


Research suggests that CBT can help individuals with autism develop important coping skills, manage anxiety and stress, improve social interaction, and enhance overall well-being. By focusing on specific goals and teaching practical strategies, CBT aims to empower individuals with autism to navigate everyday situations more effectively.


At Oxford CBT, our experienced therapists work closely with individuals on the autism spectrum, tailoring CBT interventions to meet their specific needs. Through a collaborative and supportive approach, we aim to help individuals with autism thrive and reach their full potential.


If you believe that CBT may benefit you or your loved one with autism, we encourage you to reach out to our team for a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan. Our goal is to provide compassionate and evidence-based care to individuals with autism, supporting them on their unique journey towards well-being.

What are the 3 C's of cognitive Behavioural therapy?

In cognitive therapy for autism, the 3 C’s refer to three important components that are often emphasized:

Cognitive Restructuring: This involves helping individuals with autism identify and challenge negative or unhelpful thought patterns. By promoting more adaptive thinking, cognitive restructuring aims to enhance problem-solving skills, reduce anxiety, and improve emotional well-being.

Communication Skills: Communication plays a vital role in the lives of individuals with autism. Cognitive therapy for autism focuses on developing and improving communication skills, such as expressive and receptive language abilities, social cues, and nonverbal communication. Enhancing communication skills can enhance interpersonal relationships and overall functioning.

Coping Strategies: Coping strategies are essential tools for individuals with autism to manage stress, regulate emotions, and navigate challenging situations. Cognitive therapy helps individuals with autism learn and implement effective coping strategies that are tailored to their specific needs. These strategies can promote self-regulation, reduce anxiety, and enhance adaptive behaviors.

By addressing these three components, cognitive therapy for autism aims to empower individuals to better understand and manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Through targeted interventions, individuals can develop essential skills that contribute to their overall well-being and quality of life.

Does CBT work for autism?

While Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has shown promising results in addressing certain challenges associated with autism, it is important to note that the effectiveness of CBT may vary from person to person. CBT can be a valuable therapeutic approach for individuals with autism, particularly in targeting specific areas such as anxiety, social skills, and emotional regulation.


CBT for autism typically focuses on helping individuals develop coping strategies, modify unhelpful thought patterns, and improve social and communication skills. By providing structured interventions and practical tools, CBT can assist individuals in navigating the unique difficulties they may face.


It is important to work with a qualified therapist experienced in working with individuals on the autism spectrum to tailor CBT techniques to the individual’s specific needs. A comprehensive assessment and individualized treatment plan can help determine whether CBT is an appropriate and effective approach for the person with autism.


At Oxford CBT, our team of professionals has experience in providing CBT interventions for individuals with autism. We recognize the diverse needs of individuals on the autism spectrum and strive to deliver personalized and evidence-based care to support their well-being. If you are considering CBT for autism, we recommend reaching out to our team for a consultation to explore the potential benefits and determine the most suitable treatment approach.


Does CBT for Autism work for adults?

Yes, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be beneficial for autistic adults. While CBT is often associated with helping individuals with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns, its principles and techniques can also be applied effectively to address specific challenges faced by autistic adults.


CBT for autistic adults typically focuses on areas such as managing anxiety, developing social skills, improving self-esteem, and enhancing emotional regulation. It aims to help individuals recognize and modify unhelpful thought patterns, develop coping strategies, and improve their overall well-being.


It is important to note that the effectiveness of CBT may vary for each individual, and a personalized approach is necessary. Working with a therapist experienced in providing CBT for autistic adults is crucial to tailor interventions to their unique needs and circumstances.


At Oxford CBT, we have professionals who specialize in working with autistic adults. We understand the diverse range of strengths and challenges within the autistic community and strive to provide individualized and evidence-based care. If you are an autistic adult seeking CBT, we encourage you to reach out to our team for a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan. Our goal is to support your well-being and help you thrive in all aspects of your life.


CBT for High-Functioning Autism

CBT can be a valuable therapeutic approach for individuals with high-functioning autism. High-functioning autism refers to individuals who have autism but possess relatively strong cognitive abilities and communication skills. CBT can address specific challenges commonly associated with high-functioning autism, such as social skills deficits, anxiety, and rigid thinking patterns.


In the context of high-functioning autism, CBT may focus on enhancing social communication skills, improving emotional regulation, managing anxiety related to social interactions, and addressing any co-occurring mental health concerns. The structured nature of CBT can provide individuals with practical strategies and tools to navigate social situations, challenge negative thoughts or assumptions, and develop coping mechanisms.


It is important to work with a therapist who has experience in working with individuals with high-functioning autism to ensure that the interventions are tailored to their unique needs and strengths. A therapist knowledgeable about both CBT techniques and the characteristics of high-functioning autism can provide effective support.


At Oxford CBT, our professionals have experience working with individuals with high-functioning autism and can offer specialized CBT interventions. We understand the specific challenges faced by individuals with high-functioning autism and strive to provide personalized and evidence-based care to support their well-being and overall functioning. If you are considering CBT for high-functioning autism, we recommend reaching out to our team for a consultation to discuss your needs and develop an individualized treatment plan.


Consider online therapy

Online sessions are a flexible alternative to in person sessions and have been proven to be equally as effective.

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What Our Patients Have To Say

15:37 01 Sep 23
Highly recommend Oxford CBT. Deepika was incredibly helpful when it came to invoices for insurance, and changing between in-person and online sessions. My weekly sessions with Ellie were always positive, she always validated my feelings and provided me with techniques to reach my therapy goals. She is brilliant, and I would recommend her to anyone who is looking for help.
Imogen GrahamImogen Graham
14:10 08 Jun 23
Can't speak highly enough of Oxford CBT. The booking/rearrangement process has been updated to be really easy, and the flexibility to be online or in-person is invaluable. I worked on my struggles with depression and anxiety with Ellen and then more extensively with Ellie and she helped me so much, even just session-to-session she's so friendly and warm and validating, I could laugh with her just as often as I could cry. When I started CBT I wasn't convinced that it would work but with the patience of Ellen and Ellie, I'm doing so much better. Thank you so much to them and to Oxford CBT.
Gemma LandersGemma Landers
14:03 20 May 22
It was very easy to book sessions. Jennifer was a great therapist, every session with her was great and really helped me. She was kind and caring and knowledgeable. All the things she gave me to help, worked, and I still use them now when I need to. CBT really helped me and I would highly recommend Oxford CBT.
James WestgateJames Westgate
11:10 27 Sep 21
Karen IsonKaren Ison
15:52 14 Sep 21
I have just completed a final phase of therapy. It has been hard work but so beneficial. The schema therapy knowledge that Tom used has given me a much better insight into how my childhood has impacted me as an adult and given me freedom from the past and the ability to move on. Tom's unfailing encouragement and empathy kept me going on the difficult journey. I would recommend to anyone.
Elizabeth RoweElizabeth Rowe
16:39 03 Mar 21
I started doing weekly CBT sessions with Ellie in September 2020 at a time when I was suffering badly from insomnia and was looking for help dealing with anxiety and racing thoughts at night. Although we never met in person but only over Zoom, I felt as though Ellie and I had some really good conversations. She's an immensely sympathetic and caring person and she also has a good sense of humour. She really tried hard to help me talk through my problems and to give me CBT-based strategies for dealing with stress. I'd recommend her to anyone.
12:20 07 Jul 20
I had my therapy sessions with Adam Lacey. He is just amazing. He has empowered me to be more in touch with myself and more true to my values. He has helped me to understand the matrix through which I see the world, in order to change it accordingly to what I really believe in and to what I find more useful in this moment of my life. He has helped to develop my compassionate side both towards myself and towards others. We’ve worked together on self criticism and self confidence. I felt Adam kept adapting the sessions according to my needs, mixing up different styles and supporting me holistically. I also brought to him themes that might be less common for therapists (such as polyamory) and he has made me feel welcomed, safe and supported.Skype sessions worked perfectly fine. Adam has been able to create a connection and make me feel completely comfortable with the online sessions.

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