Monthly Archives: May 2013


Playing With Fear: Treating Phobias in Children with Autism

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Here is an example of a method for treating phobias in children with Autism or other Developmental Disabilities (DDs), using the approach we developed, Replays, (e.g. Levine and Chedd, 2007), or Affective Behavioral Play Therapy (ABPT) as we call it for professional consumption.  In this approach, as in traditional paradigms for treating phobias, we use gradual exposure combined with pleasurable activity, but, in contrast to traditional treatment approaches for children with Autism or other DDs (see my Blog Treating the Child under the Behavior), the focus is on the child’s affective experience, played out in an affectively rich interactive context.

Treating the Child Under the Behavior: Affect & Relationship in Children with Autism

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
Most treatment models for mental health problems in children with Developmental Disabilities (DDs) including Autism or Intellectual Disability (e.g. Down syndrome) are based on manipulation of behaviors, with much less, or no emphasis on the child’s affective experiences or on use of interactions/relationships. Challenging behaviors in this population are so often regarded as just that, Behaviors, rather than as reflective of underlying emotions, as the outward manifestation of underlying dynamic emotional processes of a personality, as the struggles of a person with their own unique experiences, feelings, and relationships.

The Therapeutic Relationship in CBT

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
In a recent online discussion, a colleague wrote "Perhaps psychodynamic therapists have relied too heavily on the relationship at the expense of client skill-building, while the opposite tends to be true for CBT therapists."  This is a common criticism of CBT, but is there reason to believe that CBT therapists emphasize client skill-building at the ...

Emotional Democracy or Dictatorship?

Monday, May 6th, 2013
wire_fenceWhen I talk about the ability to choose an emotional response, this idea is sometimes mistaken for a compulsory task. As one person said, “I have already tried that. Growing up, my father would often say, ‘Force yourself to have a good time,’ and I am sick of hearing that because it does not work!” For this person, there was no freedom of expression.