An Introduction to the use and adaptation of CBT strategies for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dr Torrey Creed

Monday, 27 September 2021


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can yield significant benefits for clients with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but the treatment does not focus on treating or “curing” ASD – nor should it. Rather,

there is something about the nature of ASD that can make comorbid conditions more intense, more severe, and more complex than we often see with neurotypical clients. In this seminar, we will focus on the use and adaptation of CBT strategies to help clients with ASD to amplify their strengths, build skills, and move toward their goals.

The event will be equivalent to 1.1/2hrs of CPD.


We will begin with a brief discussion of common characteristics of a person with ASD and mental
health challenges that these clients may face, in order to frame the subsequent discussion of skills.
Next, we will describe adaptations to common CBT practices that may be helpful to match the
unique cognitive or behavioral styles people with ASD may have. Affective education strategies will
be presented to help clients to identify, communicate, and cope with strong emotional experiences.
Finally, we will present tools to strengthen social reasoning, which can help improve the client’s
interpersonal relationships.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this webinar, learners will be able to:
• Recognize common characteristics of a person with ASD;• Describe mental health challenges that some people with ASD may experience; and
• Identify adaptations to standard CBT that may be helpful for clients with ASD

Training Modalities

Modalities utilized in this training will include didactic teaching, polls, interactive chats, and
opportunities to ask questions.

Key References

Bemmer, E.R., Boulton, K.A., Thomas, E.E. et al. Modified CBT for social anxiety and social
functioning in young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Molecular Autism 12, 11 (2021).
Pallathra, A.A., Cordero, L., Wong, K., & Brodkin, E.S. (2019). Psychosocial interventions targeting
social functioning in adults on the Autism Spectrum: a literature review. Current Psychiatry Reports,
21, 5.
Scarpa, A., White, S.W., & Attwood, T. (2013) CBT for Children and Adolescents with HighFunctioning Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

About the presenter

Torrey Creed PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of
Medicine and a licensed clinical psychologist. She is the founder and director of the Penn
Collaborative for CBT and Implementation Science, which emphasizes public-academic partnerships
to increase access to CBT and other evidence-based practices in under-resourced community
settings. Dr. Creed serves as a health policy advisor to Partners in Health, with a focus on the
implementation of CBT and other evidence-based practices in low- and middle-income countries.
She also serves as Director of Clinical Implementation for Lyssn, which uses artificial intelligence to
support clinical competence and supervision. Her grant-funded research including studies focused
on fidelity, sustainability, and the intersection of technology and mental health. In addition to an
active program of research, she teaches, mentors students and postdoctoral fellows, and provides
workshops and consultation.

Who should attend

This webinar is most suitable for mental health professionals with training in CBT who are interested
in learning about how to best meet the mental health needs of people with an Autism Spectrum