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Reply To: Autism based in trauma ?

Helen Clarke

As i read what you write about your colleague it feels to me that she is misunderstanding autism and the differential diagnosis between features caused by biology and those caused by environment. I wonder whether you could introduce her to the bio-psycho-social model of understanding our patients and what factors are part of their current presentation. Perhaps invite a sharing of perspectives on neurodiversity and how each approach understands neurodiversity. Ideally you want to find shared ground, right? At the moment you find their angle to be alarming and potentially harming, and i wonder what they think about the position that SLT takes?

Out of curiosity i’ve just done a quick google search “psychodynamic counselling and autism” and found articles that back up a psychodynamic approach. In a way i’m not surprised as psychodynamic counsellors like the rest of us are trying to prove what they do works – if you look for it you will find it.

It sounds like your colleague is a bit rigid with her understanding of a psychodynamic approach. I’ve had really positive experiences with psychodynamic colleagues who have aimed for integration with other therapies and the outcome has been really helpful. I’ve always found the best outcomes occur when we have some shared ground with our colleagues of other professions. As someone else has mentioned here – get in touch with someone else of the same profession and ask them more about this. Based on what you’ve put here i think we will all be alarmed and outraged, but someone of the same profession should be able to provide some context.

On a personal note i’m a bit baffled what she might be doing with the children who are non-verbal and have no joint attention for the hour she sees them. What are her goals for them, and for that hour? I wonder if she feels a bit out of her depth and is hiding rather rigidly in her psychodynamic stuff. If this is the case she may respond well to a gentle and persistent invitation to join your sessions, have more clinical discussions about children with you, and attend staff and family training you provide.