Therapeutic Strategies for Adults with ASD. Building Romantic and Intimate Relationships; Starting Family. 103
LCSW-R, Master’s in Social Work, is a Psychotherapist in Private Practice, and the DIR-Expert, The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), New York, USA
This paper further examines unique aspects of emotional life of adults with ASD and challenges and rewards of building long-term romantic and family relationships. Psychotherapeutic methods of choice, DIRFloortime and mentalization, are aimed at forming, maintenance and flexible repair of the interpersonal relationship: DIRFloortime offers play- and affect-based strategies and helps to build interpersonal relationship, while mentalization techniques provide metacognitive intervention and serve as scaffolding for emotional thinking and higher-level cognition. Techniques of Floortime play, Socratic questions and collateral work proved to be effective. Clinical vignettes illustrate moving the entire family up towards more effective and harmonious co-regulated interaction with corrections to sensory triggers, elements of psychoeducation about self-regulation, and direct self-regulation individual coaching. Coregulating affect, raising self-awareness, demonstrating relationship building and repair, as well as interest in the other in the course of playful interaction; waiting and gently prodding into the emotionally meaningful subjects helps the therapist to help adult autists to erect the societal support system.
Keywords: autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), emotional development, DIRFloortime, adult psychotherapy, mentalization, affect-based therapy, theory of mind, playful interaction
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