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Outpatient Psychotherapy for Adults with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Condition: Utilization, Treatment Satisfaction, and Preferred Modifications

  • Silke Lipinski
  • Elisabeth S. Blanke
  • Ulrike Suenkel
  • Isabel Dziobek
Original Paper
  • 2 Downloads

Abstract

Many adults with autism spectrum condition (ASC) desire outpatient psychotherapy (PT). This study compared reasons for seeking PT, experiences with PT, and modifications preferred with respect to PT of individuals with ASC to non-autistic individuals with depression (MDD). Furthermore, factors predictive for treatment satisfaction were identified in individuals with ASC. A total of 262 adults with ASC without intellectual impairment and 304 non-autistic controls with MDD were surveyed. In this pilot study both groups predominantly sought treatment for depressiveness. A low level of expertise with autism was the main reason for being declined by therapists and a contributing factor to the overall treatment dissatisfaction of patients with ASC. ASC patients desire adjustments such as written communication, and clearly structured sessions.

Keywords

Autism Autism spectrum disorder Asperger syndrome Adult psychotherapy Mental health Participatory research 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by a dissertation scholarship from the Stiftung Irene (Irene Foundation). We are grateful to the participants for taking part in the study and we thank the great number of people, especially those from the Autism-Research-Collaboration (AFK), who donated their time and dedication to the project.

Author Contributions

SL conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the measurement, performed the statistical analysis, participated in the interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript. EB conceived of the study, participated in the design of the study, helped with the statistical analysis, participated in the interpretation of the data and helped to draft the manuscript. US conceived of the study, participated in the design of the study, participated in the interpretation of the data, and critically reviewed the manuscript. ID conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, helped with the statistical analysis, participated in the interpretation of the data, and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

This research was completed in part fulfillment of the first author’s Ph.D./dissertation at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Silke Lipinski received a dissertation scholarship from the Stiftung Irene (Irene Foundation). None of the authors have any potential conflicts of interest to disclose. This paper’s contents are solely the responsibility of the authors.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Berlin School of Mind and BrainHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Lebenswissenschaftliche Fakultät, Institut für PsychologieHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH), Center of NeurologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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