5 Common Types of Therapy: What Is Best for Autism?

November 2, 2023 | Uncategorized

Finding the right therapy for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a crucial step in supporting individuals on the spectrum. The amount and type of available therapies can be overwhelming, but by understanding the options, you can make informed decisions focused on the needs of your loved one. In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore five common types of therapy for mental health disorders and help you understand which may be the best fit for individuals with autism.

What Are The Most Common Types of Therapy?

There are a lot of types of therapy available for mental health disorders, and it might take some time to know exactly which one is the best fit for you or your loved one. While some conditions may match well with a specific type of therapy, generally, there are several main approaches for treating mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and behavioral or trauma-related issues. Here are some therapies for treating mental health disorders:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely-used approach to treat several mental health issues like anxiety and depression because it focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors to promote emotional well-being. Typically, a CBT session involves a therapist and the individual discussing their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is often used to help manage emotional ups and downs, self-harm tendencies, and conditions like borderline personality disorder. It combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness strategies to improve emotional regulation. In individual DBT sessions, the therapist and the individual explore their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, while group sessions provide opportunities to practice coping skills and receive support from peers.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT helps individuals to develop psychological flexibility and to manage distress. It encourages embracing uncomfortable emotions and taking action to create a meaningful life. ACT sessions involve discussions about the individual’s values, mindfulness exercises, and exploring ways to overcome challenges during their progress.


Psychoanalysis is a comprehensive approach used to explore deep emotional issues and conflicts because it delves into the subconscious mind to uncover underlying psychological problems. The therapist provides interpretations and insights to help the individual get a deeper understanding of their process.

Trauma Therapy

Trauma therapy supports individuals in processing and healing from traumatic experiences using specific techniques, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). A trauma therapy session typically involves discussing the traumatic experience, practicing relaxation techniques, and using specialized interventions to reprocess traumatic memories.

What Type of Therapy is Best for Autism?

Autism symptoms vary, with some having mild symptoms and others facing more significant challenges. For example, a child facing difficulties in language development, motor skills, and daily functioning may receive a comprehensive treatment plan that includes speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. 

This means that treatment plans need to be personalized and customized to meet the individual needs. Here are some of the most common therapies for autism treatment based on the existing necessity.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

ABA therapy is specifically designed for individuals with autism and is considered the gold standard in autism treatment since it addresses a broad range of skills, from communication and socialization to reducing challenging behaviors. It employs data-driven approaches to teach new skills and reduce problem behaviors, which makes it highly individualized.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT can be beneficial for individuals with autism who experience anxiety, obsessive behaviors, or depression since it equips them with practical tools to manage emotions, reduce anxiety levels, and develop coping strategies. This therapy is a structured approach that teaches individuals with autism to have emotional regulation and improved behavior.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is valuable for individuals with autism who struggle with sensory processing disorder, fine and gross motor skills, and activities of daily living. Occupational therapists work to enhance independence and overall quality of life.

How to Choose the Right Therapy for a Person with Autism

Choosing the right therapy for a person with autism involves thoughtful consideration of some key factors. We recommend starting with an assessment that gives you an overall view of the individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and specific goals, which is the foundation for therapy choices. This ensures that the chosen therapy is exactly what your loved one needs and provides you with successful therapy outcomes.

Finally, it is important to make sure that the therapy you’re choosing enhances family participation, because it can positively affect the individual’s progress since collaboration between therapy providers, educators, and caregivers is essential for effective therapy.

Get Started With ABA Therapy at Empower Behavioral Health

At Empower Behavioral Health, we specialize in providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, one of the most effective and evidence-based therapies for autism. Our ABA therapy programs are highly individualized, focusing on the specific goals and needs of each person with autism. Contact Empower Behavioral Health now and start your journey on ABA therapy by scheduling your first meeting today.