Sometimes people with autism can struggle to identify and manage their own thoughts and emotions. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one way that a service user with autism can learn to recognise and adapt their feelings, and develop better coping mechanisms. Cognitive behavioural therapy, therefore, is a useful tool used in our care home jobs for learning disabilities in Southampton.
What is cognitive behavioural therapy?
Cognitive behavioural therapy mainly focuses on how to recognise irrational or unhealthy thoughts, feelings and beliefs, then teaches how to self-regulate these emotions. It provides targeted support for specific problems, and offers practical solutions. Whilst it is best known as a treatment for anxiety or depression, research has shown it can be effective when managing a range of conditions, including mental illnesses, learning difficulties and neurodivergence.
Therapy sessions will generally involve breaking down complex reactions into smaller parts. For example, service users will learn to separate how they feel from their physical responses to those feelings. The therapist can then help identify which thoughts and reactions are useful, and which cause harm. Work can then be done to find better ways to manage these responses. The skills learnt in the therapy sessions can then be applied to a wide range of situations in everyday life, including those not specifically discussed in therapy.
How can it help people with autism?
People with autism may find emotional regulation particularly difficult. Situations that people without autism may find ordinary – bright lights, loud noises, crowds of people – can cause extremely high levels of anxiety, which in turn lead to involuntary and sometimes extreme reactions. Cognitive behavioural therapy provides a way that the person with autism can recognise when they are becoming over-stressed and find practical ways to deescalate their feelings before reaching this point.
Rather than just showing service users with autism the “acceptable” way to react in a certain situation, cognitive behavioural therapy teaches them how to use their own knowledge and abilities to adapt to changing circumstances in the world around them. It’s a practical way to help them help themselves, which research suggests will also improve self-esteem in the long term.
Cognitive behavioural therapy in care home jobs for learning disabilities in Southampton
We firmly believe that all support for our service users should be individualised to their specific needs. Our care home jobs for learning disabilities in Southampton are no exception. Rather than trying to “fix” people with autism, we want to teach them the skills that will allow them to navigate the world on their own terms. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a way for our service users to make conscious decisions as to how best to manage their own lives, and it is the job of our support workers to facilitate this.
Evidence shows that cognitive behavioural therapy is an effective way to manage a variety of conditions. Not only can it alleviate some of the anxiety often associated with autism, but it can also help people with autism develop long term coping skills that can be applied in a variety of situations. This enables them to take more control of their own lives.