Online a paper about a therapy for adolescents with autism and extraordinary skills. The research has been just published by the Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy and presents a two cases series.
In this study we tested an evolutionarily oriented therapy for those with the so-called savant syndrome, that is the presence of extraordinary skills usually in conjunction with autistic traits. Thus, we recruited two adolescents with this syndrome and offered a 6-month therapy (plus 1-month follow-up).
The proposed therapy is an adaptation of Evolutionary Systems Therapy for Schizotypy, that is an integration of evolutionary psychopathology, metacognitively oriented therapy and compassion focused therapy. This treatment has been originally tested with persons with schizotypal o schizoid traits.
The collected results are promising. Indeed, both the adolescents showed a reliable change in symptomatology and in metacognition, that is the former decreased and the letter increased.
Future studies will hopefully confirm if and how our therapy for autism and extraordinary skills works!
Cheli, S. & Cavalletti, V. (2023). An Evolutionarily Oriented Therapy for Autistic Adolescents with Extraordinary Skills: A Two-Case Series. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10879-023-09586-7
Open -access link by Springer: https://rdcu.be/ddtxS
In a cases series with five adolescents we tested a treatment for adolescents with schizotypal traits. The intervention was previously designed and tested with adults, namely Evolutionary Systems Therapy for Schizotypy (ESTS).
ESTS is an integrative form of psychotherapy that comprises an evolutionarily based conceptualization with compassion focused and metacognitvely oritented approaches. We recently published the findings of a randomized controlled trial where we showed promising results. 75% of patients remitted from diagnosis and drop-out rates was below 10%.
In this new cases series we suggest how ESTS may be a feasible treatment for adolescents with schizotypal traits. All the partecipants concluded the study and the rate of missing sessions was below 10%. Moreover, 4 out of 5 patients remitted from diagnosis at the end of the schedule 6-month treatment, 1 out of 5 after an extended 9-month intervention.
A post-hoc interview showed how the adolescents described the intervention as effective, substainable and consistent with their goals. By considering how limited informat we have about effective treatments for adolescents with personality pathology (almost nothing for those struggling with schizotypal traits), we are really excited by these findings. Despite the preliminary nature of the study, the proposed model is elegible for larger sample size studies.
Simone Cheli, Gil Goldzweig, Paul H. Lysaker, Francesca Chiarello, Courtney Wiesepape & Veronica Cavalletti (2023) An evolutionarily informed therapy for adolescents with prominent schizotypal traits: a pilot five case series, Psychosis, DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2023.2199325
The dataset of our recently concluded cases series on adolescents with prominent schizotypal traits is available on OSF. In the study we extended the clinical utility of Evolutionary Systems Therapy for Schizotypy (ESTS) by applaying it in treating five adolescents diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder.
The results were encouraging: 4 out of five remitted from diagnosis at the end of the 6-month intervention and all the adolescents reported reliable changes in symptomatology.
Personality pathology in adolscence is an understudied area of psychotherapy, even if researchers are publishing more and more studies on that. We know that personality and its disorders emerge during adolescence, but the “straighforward” approach to psychiatry seemingly generates a paradox by not allowing a diagnosis in adolescence!