Psychodynamic theory and the treatment of autism: the case of Austin

DUCKHAM Bryan, YANN Celeste M.G.
Journal article citation:
Smith College Studies in Social Work, 86(2), 2016, pp.101-117.
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

Autism spectrum disorders include difficulties with social interaction, repetitive behaviour, sensory sensitivity, and, often, concomitant language deficits. Psychodynamic theory is a powerful tool in explaining and treating the behavioural symptoms of autism. Specifically, the object relations theories of Melanie Klein and Wilfred Bion explicate the meanings and developmental challenges associated with autism. The epistemology of heuristics, with the use of triangulation, supports psychodynamic theory as one of multiple ways of interpreting phenomena. In this particular situation, the symptoms and presenting issues associated with autism evident in this composite clinical case are drawn from one of the author’s practice. This report illustrates the use of psychodynamic formulations and treatment in the psychotherapeutic work with a 12-year-old boy diagnosed with autism whom we call Austin. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
therapies, treatment, intervention, autistic spectrum conditions, autism, case studies;
Content type:
practice example
United States
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