Adapting Cognitive Behavioural Interventions for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder: WORKSHOP PRESENTATION ONLINE VIA ZOOM

Mental health problems, particularly anxiety and depression are reported to frequently co-occur with autism across the lifespan.  Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), if adapted for the needs of autistic people, has been found to be effective in treating co-occurring mental health problems.

This workshop will provide a brief introduction to Autism as a clinical diagnosis, co-occurring mental health problems and the evidence base for Cognitive Behavioural interventions.

The rationale for adapted CBT will be discussed and the adaptations to assessment, formulation and intervention in CBT will be presented. Opportunities for skills practice will be used to bring these to life.

The workshop is suitable for clinicians with a solid foundation in cognitive behavioural interventions, interested in adapting their practice for Autism. The focus will be clinical practice with intellectually able individuals from 14 years and upwards.

Intended Learning Outcomes

•        To become familiar with the key adaptations to CBT for mental health problems in the context of Autism

•        To understand the rationale for the adaptations to CBT

•        To gain some skills practice with the key adaptations in the classroom

•        To become familiar with the evidence base

This workshop aims to improve therapist knowledge about and confidence in working with autistic people. The intended learning outcomes may also be helpful in adapting practice for people with social communication difficulties who do not have a formal diagnosis.



Anderson, S. & Morris, J. (2006) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for people with Aspergers Syndrome Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy 34(3):293-303

Cooper, K., Loades, M.E. and Russell, A. (2018) Adapting psychological therapies for Autism Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 45; 43-50

Russell, A., Jassi, A., & Johnston, K. (2019). OCD and Autism: A Clinician’s Guide to Adapting CBT. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Weston, L., Hodgekins, J., & Langdon, P. E. (2016). Effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy with people who have autistic spectrum disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 49, 41-54.


Instructions for joining OCTC online workshop


Ailsa Russell

Dr Ailsa Russell is a Reader in Clinical Psychology at the Centre for Applied Autism Research, Department of Psychology, University of Bath.  She has held clinical posts in NHS national specialist and community based adult autism services.  She has led on two clinical trials investigating the usefulness of adapted CBT for autistic people with co-occurring mental health problems, specifically Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Depression.

Additional Information

Cancellation & changes policy

If you cancel more than 14 days prior to your booked event, we will refund your fee minus a charge of 15% to cover our administration costs. We regret that cancellations 14 days or less before the booked event cannot be refunded or changed/transferred.

If you wish to change/transfer your booking after confirmation we will do our best to accommodate you if you notify us 14 days prior to your booked event, and if there is space to do so. However there will be an administration charge of £15 per change/transfer.


Workshops often contain clinical material. This is always anonymised as far as possible but delegates are none the less reminded to respect confidentiality.

All that is discussed in your therapy sessions will be treated as confidential, with the following exceptions.
We are required to seek supervision by our professional body (The British Psychological Society or equivalent) as a means of ensuring good practice. We will usually inform your referrer of your progress, but the details that we disclose will be discussed with you. We do have a statutory obligation to break confidentiality under rare circumstances, namely, if we believe that a client is of danger to themselves or to others (under the Mental Health Act, 2001) or if we believe that a child is at actual risk of physical or sexual abuse (The Children Act, Section 47, 1989).

If we felt that it would be helpful to request additional medical, social or legal information, we could only do this with your consent. Similarly, should another medical, social or legal professional request information from us, we would not release this without your consent.


OCTC makes every effort to ensure that this programme is delivered as advertised. However, should a presenter have to cancel, we will endeavour to find another suitable presenter. We will inform attendees as soon as is reasonably practical and, if requested, will offer a refund. In the rare event that we are unable to substitute a presenter, we may cancel a workshop and refund payments already made by attendees. OCTC will not refund travel and accommodation costs that attendees may incur.
All the workshops in this programme are carried out by highly experienced therapists and trainers. The individual presenter is responsible for the content of the workshop and any views expressed do not necessarily represent those of OCTC.
Although highly informative, none of the open workshops or workshop series confer a formal qualification or assurance of competence in CBT (or a specialist area of CBT) since we are unable to assess attendee competency within the training event. However, credit and award-bearing courses that lead to formal qualifications are offered by OCTC in conjunction with the University of Oxford. More about these courses is available on our website

Levels of competence

Before booking a place on a workshop, please ensure that it is pitched at the appropriate level of competence for you. The guide to levels is as follows:


Basic workshops are for people from a variety of backgrounds, who have at least one year’s clinical experience. Cognitive behavioural knowledge is not necessary for attendance at these workshops, though in practice, a number of attendees will have some skills in the area, and are refreshing/updating their knowledge.


Intermediate workshops are directed towards people who already have knowledge of CBT, and experience in using cognitive formulations and treatment methods – for instance, they are able to identify and test automatic thoughts, and design behavioural experiments. Most participants will be using CBT as part of their clinical practice, and may still be acquiring new CBT skills.


Advanced courses are directed towards those professionals who use CBT routinely as part of their clinical practice. They have probably undertaken a significant number of training courses and/or workshops, and use a broad range of cognitive behavioural strategies to work with a range of presentations at varying levels of complexity.

Making reservations

Bookings can only be considered confirmed after we have received your online registration or application form and payment (or invoicing details, including an official purchase order document). Please note that registration to workshops closes 7 days prior to the event date.

If you are booking a workshop place for someone else, you must complete your own details in the billing field, but ENTER THE WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS NAME/ADDRESS in the shipping field. If you wish to order items using a paper order form instead of online, you can view or download an order form in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Once downloaded, print it out, fill it in, and send off with your payment [cheque made payable to OXFORD HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST] to the address on the form.


The cost of the workshops includes hot drinks on arrival, mid-morning and mid-afternoon, but not usually lunch unless stated. However, for workshops that do include lunch, if you have any special dietary requirements please let us know at the time of application.

Special needs

We welcome applications from diverse backgrounds. If you have any particular needs, please contact us
prior to booking.