Evaluating the efficacy of psychodynamic treatment on a single case of autism. A qualitative research

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Marta Vecchiato *
Chiara Sacchi
Alessandra Simonelli
Nicola Purgato
(*) Corresponding Author:
Marta Vecchiato | marta.vecchiato@gmail.com


Autism spectrum disorder refers to a group of diseases determined by multiple conditions and primarily defined on the basis of behavioral patterns. The literature and guidelines provide indications regarding adequate treatments, underlying how psychologically and behaviorally structured interventions, should be considered the best programs. Anyway, there is still a scarcity of studies evidencing the effectiveness of therapeutic and developmental approaches situated in a psychodynamic framework and researches aimed to evaluate the quality of psychodynamic interventions on autism are rare. The present study illustrate a qualitative research on the single-case intervention with an autistic adolescent, admitted to the Educational - Rehabilitation Centre Antenna 112. The Centre bases its intervention on a specific psychodynamic approach, Lacanian Psychoanalysis, named Pratique à Plusieurs. The efficacy of the psychodynamic intervention is evaluated by monitoring the therapeutic process with the adolescent from his admission. The evaluation took place in three different stages of the intervention: at the beginning of the treatment, after 6 months and after 12 months. In particular, the level of adaptive behaviors (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale), Social Communication (Social Communication Questionnaire), and the seriousness of behavioral patterns, specific for the autism disorders (Childhood Autism Rating Scale) have been assessed. Results highlight that the psychodynamic setting of the Centre and the therapeutic intervention, which takes place in it, foster an improvement of adaptive behavior, such as life skills and socialization. Limitations of the present study and clinical implications regarding residential psychodynamic treatments in cases of autism disorders are discussed.

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