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October 2021

Reaching in-reaching out: Counseling an autistic child

Journal/Book: American Mental Health Counselors Association Journal. 1986; 8: 18-26.

Abstract: Presents a 3-stage approach to counseling an autistic child that has its theoretical roots in Adlerian humanistic-phenomenological psychology. In Stage 1, the counselor attempts to become part of the child's world by being patient, flexible, and nonjudgmental and by letting the child guide the counselor into his/her world. Stage 2 involves trying to encounter the child existentially; this may be accomplished by taking part in the child's play or by experiencing self-transcendence (feeling "at one" with the child). M. S. Nystul's (1978) 4 steps of creative arts therapy are presented as another possible method of promoting an existential encounter. In Stage 3, the counselor tries to help the child reach out into the world of others through programs that include stories, songs, puppetry, and role-playing activities. The case of a 7-yr-old autistic female is presented to illustrate the reaching in/reaching out approach. (13 ref)

Note: counseling with 3 stage approach; 7 yr old autistic female

Keyword(s): Counseling ; psychotherapeutic techniques; autistic children; school age children; childhood


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