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ISBN# 1-59385-497-8
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adult Asperger Syndrome

Publication Date: 2007
Valerie L. Gaus, Ph.D.

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sku# 0762

Hardcover, 236 pp

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About the Author

Valerie L. Gaus, PhD, has been a practicing cognitive-behavioral therapist serving adults and adolescents with dual diagnosis (intellectual disability with comorbid psychiatric disorder), autism spectrum disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders since she received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Stony Brook University in 1992. Since then she has maintained a private practice on Long Island, New York, and serves as the staff psychologist for the Vincent Smith School in Port Washington, New York. Dr. Gaus is on the advisory board of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, the grant review committee of the Organization for Autism Research, and the adjunct faculty at Long Island University/C. W. Post. She was also a founding board member of the New York Metro chapter of the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed. Dr. Gaus has written numerous articles and book chapters on mental health issues in developmental disabilities and has lectured extensively on these topics across the United States and abroad.


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An invaluable resource for therapists, this lucidly written book provides research-based strategies for addressing the core problems of Asperger syndrome (AS) and helping clients manage frequently encountered comorbidities, such as anxiety disorders and depression. Detailed case examples illustrate the complexities of AS and the challenges it presents in daily life, relationships, and the workplace. The author presents a cogent rationale for cognitive-behavioral intervention and offers clear guidelines for conducting assessments and designing and implementing individualized treatment plans. Throughout, the emphasis is on helping people with AS decrease distress while preserving and building on their unique strengths. Special features include a case formulation worksheet and other helpful reproducibles.


"Truly the first of its kind, this impressive text book is an indispensable resource for psychologists and graduate students who work with adults with Asperger syndrome (AS). Gaus provides a comprehensive overview of the complex mental health needs of this often-misunderstood population, along with guidelines for evidence-based intervention. Utilizing examples from her own clinical practice to illustrate the process of cognitive-behavioral therapy (without oversimplifying it), Gaus shows how to effectively support people with AS in improving their quality of life."
-Peter F. Gerhardt, EdD, President, Organization for Autism Research

"Individuals with autism spectrum disorders—who face a social world in which rules and expectations appear to be crystal-clear to everyone but oneself—frequently experience anxiety and depression. Both of these challenges are best addressed through cognitive-behavioral therapy, yet, until now, few resources were available to guide practitioners in working with this population. This book is the beginning of the answer. Written in plain and practical language, this text book is much needed and enormously helpful."
-Ami Klin, PhD, Director, Autism Program, Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine

"Gaus provides an important service in showing how cognitive-behavioral therapy can be applied with a range of problems experienced by adults with Asperger syndrome (AS). Especially helpful are the chapters on intervention, which take readers step by step through CBT approaches for addressing the core problems of AS as well as comorbid mental health problems. The author.s extensive clinical experience and understanding of these clients is evident throughout. The intervention strategies are described in considerable detail, with helpful case examples and references for interested readers to follow up with. Therapists working with these challenging adult clients will find this book thought provoking, practical, and invaluable."
-Gary B. Mesibov, PhD, Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology and Director, Division TEACHH, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This book solidly captures the essence of the issues experienced by adults with AS. It provides detailed information on cognitive-behavioral assessment and treatment strategies, including many case examples that both fascinate and teach. This is a 'must read' for any person working closely with adults with social learning challenges. While the book is targeted for mental health providers, it is informative and helpful for a range of adult care providers, including speech pathologists and parents. I do not know of any other book like it."
-Michelle Garcia Winner, SLP, private practice, San José, California



  1. Defining Asperger Syndrome in Adulthood
  2. Conceptualization of Mental Health Problems in Adult Asperger Syndrome
  3. The Initial Assessment
  4. Individualized Case Formulation and Treatment Plan Design
  5. Psychoeducation and Orientation to Treatment
  6. Intervention: Increasing Skills to Address the Core Problems of Asperger Syndrome
  7. Intervention: Addressing Comorbid Mental Health Problems
  8. Adjunctive Therapies and Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  9. Obstacles to Treatment and How to Address Them
  10. Ending Treatment and Looking Ahead
Appendix: Therapy Resources