The cornerstone of change for an individual or family affected by any adversity is trust in the process of change. In most cases, families and individuals approach the counseling experience with much trepidation. Social stigma and the significance most cultures place on self reliance and privacy are often the initial barriers to accepting therapeutic intervention.
Relationships, communication and parenting are a few of the skills we, as humans, are expected to excel at naturally, without any formal education or guidance. However, the reality is that these are some of the most difficult tasks we face in life, and when this is further confounded by the presence of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), these tasks become even more difficult.
Individuals with ASD struggle with relationships and communication by virtue of the disorder itself; however, through counseling, skills can be taught to help manage the frustrations, anxiety and sadness that accompany these struggles. Family members also report feeling overwhelmed in response to break downs in relationships, communication and parenting skills due to the stressors of living in a special family.
Again, the coaching and emotional support of a therapeutic relationship can help family members manage these struggles. The “cognitive behavioral” therapy approach is often used in counseling whereby the therapist helps the client to understand the connection between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Once this is established, the therapist can further support the client in changing maladaptive thoughts, thereby changing the connected feelings and behaviors.