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Psychological therapies for autistic people experiencing mental health conditions

Dr Barry Ingham

Tuesday, 11 March 2025


Autistic people are more likely to experience common mental health conditions and also more likely to experience barriers to accessing effective healthcare (including psychological therapies).  There is increasing awareness of the needs of autistic people and more people identified as being autistic.  We also know that autistic people are increasingly accessing all areas of mental health care including services offering psychological therapies.  At the same time, clinicians and autistic people often find it difficult to identify what works best in these situations.  There has been limited research into the development of psychological therapies for autistic adults; however, this is starting to change with trials of specially developed psychological therapies for autistic adults experiencing anxiety (e.g. Rodgers et al., 2023) and depression (e.g. Russell et al., 2020).  Practice is also starting to change with guidance (e.g. National Autistic Society’s Good Practice Guide for Talking Therapies) and more training becoming available.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


This workshop will outline the needs of autistic adults who experience co-occurring mental health conditions including information on how autism impacts upon somebody’s interaction and communication as well as sensory differences and focussed interests. We will discuss what autistic people have told us about their preferences for reasonable adjustments to service provision in order to improve access (e.g. clinician’s altering communication style). There will also be an overview of how to adapt psychological therapies in relation to specific mental health conditions as well as psychological therapies that have been developed specifically for autistic people experiencing anxiety and depression

Learning Objectives

• To be aware of the needs of autistic people within the context of co-occurring mental health conditions
• To have an understanding about how to assess mental health conditions experienced by autistic people
• To be able to make reasonable adjustments to enable access for autistic people to psychological therapies
• To have an understanding of how to adapt cognitive behavioural therapies for autistic people who are experiencing different co-occurring mental health conditions
• To be aware of the specifically developed psychological therapies for autistic people experiencing anxiety or depression

Training Modalities

Didactic, case examples, question & answer

Key References

Brice, S., Rodgers, J., Ingham, B., Mason, D., Wilson, C., Freeston, M., Le Couteur, A. & Parr, J.R. (2021). The importance and availability of adjustments to improve access for autistic adults who need mental and physical healthcare: findings from a UK survey. BMJ Open, 11:e043336. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2020-043336

Chaplin, E., Spain, D., & McCarthy, J. (2019) A Clinician’s Guide to Mental Health Conditions in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Assessment and Interventions. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

National Autistic Society (2022) Good practice guide for professionals delivering talking therapies for autistic adults and children. Available at NAS-Good-Practice-Guide-A4.pdf (

Rodgers, J., Brice, S., Welsh, P., Ingham, B., Wilson, C., Evans, G, Steele, K., Cropper, E., Le Couteur, A., Feeston, M., & Parr, J. R. (2023) A Pilot Randomised Control Trial Exploring the Feasibility and Acceptability of Delivering a Personalised Modular Psychological Intervention for Anxiety Experienced by Autistic Adults: Personalised Anxiety Treatment-Autism (PAT-A). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Russell, A.J., Gaunt, D., Cooper, K., Barton, S.B., Horwood, J., Kessler, D., Metcalfe, C., Ensum, I., Ingham, B., Parr, J.R., Rai, D. & Wiles, N. (2020). The feasibility of low-intensity psychological therapy for depression co-occurring with autism in adults: The Autism Depression Trial (ADEPT) – a pilot randomised controlled trial. Autism, 24, 1360-1372.

About the presenter

Barry Ingham is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Associate Psychological Services Director who works clinically with autistic people and people with intellectual disabilities within Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust. He is also an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Population Health Sciences Institute in Newcastle University where he has developed and evaluated novel assessments and interventions for autistic people who experience health conditions through being an investigator on a number of funded trials and research projects. He has published a research paper, articles, books and book chapters mainly concerning the needs of autistic people and people with intellectual disabilities. He is a charted psychologist and associate fellow with the British Psychological Society and a registered clinical psychologist.

Who should attend

This workshop is suitable for professionals working in mental health settings (e.g., nurses, psychological therapists, counsellors, psychologists) who may offer psychological therapies to autistic people experiencing co-occurring mental health conditions (e.g. anxiety; depression).

Details coming soon

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