Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Autism Ranking: Very strong positive evidence


Woman Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (also known as CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Modification or CBM) is a type of psychological intervention used to change how people think and behave.

CBT is based on the idea that how we think, how we feel, and how we act, affect each other. For example, a person who thinks that an increased heart rate is the sign of a heart attack is more likely to panic than a person who thinks that it is just a normal variation in heart rate.

CBT uses a variety of techniques to help people become more aware of how they think, so that they can change how they think and therefore how they behave. For example some forms of CBT include keeping a diary in order to record feelings and behaviours.

There are several multi-component CBT programmes (such as Building Confidence, Cool Kids , and Skillstreaming) which use a variety of techniques and which have been adapted specifically for use with people with autism.

There are also numerous other autism interventions which are based on, or which incorporate, the principles of CBT(such as social skills groups and social stories).

Our Opinion

There is a significant amount of high quality research evidence to suggest that cognitive behavioural therapy may help reduce the symptoms of anxiety in some autistic individuals.

However, as with all complex interventions, those practitioners purporting to offer them must be appropriately trained, experienced and accredited.


Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions

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24 Jan 2017
Last Review
01 Jul 2013
Next Review
01 Jun 2016