Narrative therapy: a psychotherapeutic approach in the treatment of adolescents with Asperger's disorder

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Publication details

Cashin, AJ 2008, 'Narrative therapy: a psychotherapeutic approach in the treatment of adolescents with Asperger's disorder', Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, vol. 21, no.1, pp. 48-56.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6171.2008.00128.x

Peer Reviewed



TOPIC: The conundrum of how to carry out psychotherapy with an adolescent whose primary currency of information exchange is visual as opposed to linguistic, and who is unable to develop a unified base of knowledge and hence generalize concepts, has confronted many mental health nurses in their encounters with individuals with Asperger's disorder. At the currently estimated escalating rate of occurrence of 1 to every 100 individuals having an autism spectrum disorder, and the estimate that 80% of these people have average or above intelligence, it makes sense that Asperger's disorder is frequently encountered by child and adolescent mental health nurses. Asperger's disorder represents a different way of being in the world that is associated with a higher frequency of anxiety disorders and depression than experienced by neurotypical counterparts. The inherent concretization in the externalization techniques in narrative therapy provide a novelly successful approach to psychotherapy with people with Asperger's disorder and in many cases resolution of the conundrum. PURPOSE: This paper considers the features of Asperger's disorder and its consonance with the techniques of narrative therapy, and utilizes a case example that shows the potential efficacy of the application of this established approach in a new context. SOURCES: Contemporary literature on autism and narrative therapy. CONCLUSIONS: The implication of the potential application of narrative therapy in psychotherapy with individuals with autism is raised.

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