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Externalizing Metaphors: Anxiety and High-Functioning Autism

Authors

  • Everett McGuinty MA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Everett McGuinty, MA, is Child and Family Therapist, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; David Armstrong, PhD, is Psychologist (Supervised Practice), Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca, and Director, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab Nipissing University. John Nelson, MA, is Psychological Associate, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; Stephanie Sheeler, BA, is a Research Assistant, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada.
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  • David Armstrong PhD,

    1. Everett McGuinty, MA, is Child and Family Therapist, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; David Armstrong, PhD, is Psychologist (Supervised Practice), Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca, and Director, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab Nipissing University. John Nelson, MA, is Psychological Associate, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; Stephanie Sheeler, BA, is a Research Assistant, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada.
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  • John Nelson MA,

    1. Everett McGuinty, MA, is Child and Family Therapist, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; David Armstrong, PhD, is Psychologist (Supervised Practice), Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca, and Director, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab Nipissing University. John Nelson, MA, is Psychological Associate, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; Stephanie Sheeler, BA, is a Research Assistant, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada.
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  • Stephanie Sheeler BA

    1. Everett McGuinty, MA, is Child and Family Therapist, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; David Armstrong, PhD, is Psychologist (Supervised Practice), Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca, and Director, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab Nipissing University. John Nelson, MA, is Psychological Associate, Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca; Stephanie Sheeler, BA, is a Research Assistant, Behavioral Health Sciences Lab, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada.
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everettmcguinty@hotmail.com, with a copy to the Editor: poster@uta.edu

Abstract

TOPIC:  The intent of this article is to explore the efficacy of both the literal and concrete externalization aspects within narrative therapy, and the implementation of interactive metaphors as a combined psychotherapeutic approach for decreasing anxiety with people who present with high-functioning autism.

PURPOSE:  The purpose of this exploratory article is to propose the use of externalizing metaphors as a treatment modality as a potentially useful way to engage clients. Specifically, a three-step process of change is described, which allows for concretizing affective states and experiences, and makes use of visual strengths of people presenting with an autism spectrum disorder.

SOURCE:  A selective review was conducted of significant works regarding the process of change in narrative therapy, with particular emphasis on metaphors. Works were selected based on their relevance to the current paper and included both published works (searched via Psyc-INFO) and materials from narrative training sessions.

CONCLUSIONS:  Further research is needed to address the testable hypotheses resulting from the current model. This line of research would not only establish best practices in a population for which there is no broadly accepted treatment paradigm, but would also contribute to the larger fields of abnormal psychology, emotion regulation, and cognitive psychology by further elucidating the complex ways these systems interact.

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