Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Autistic Adults Provider Training (CBT-AAPT)

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Autistic Adults Provider Training (CBT-AAPT) is a curriculum composed of modules designed to improve the attitudes of mental health providers towards autistic adults, increase their knowledge about autism, and acquire clinical skills specific to autistic adults. The target learner for CBT-AAPT are MHPs without formal clinical training in autism.

     The objectives of the CBT-AAPT curriculum for MHPs are to:

  • improve the understanding of the needs of autistic adults in a holistic fashion;
  • develop the competency of assessing the strengths of autistic adults;
  • integrate principles of Strengths-Based Model of Neurodiversity (SBMN) to existing CBT treatment philosophy;
  • incorporate new approaches of capturing perceived situations and automatic thoughts from autistic adults; and
  • adapt existing CBT interventions to meet the needs of autistic adults.


Collectively, these objectives are aimed at increasing providers’ abilities to engage with autistic adults and deliver the modified form of CBT to autistic adults more effectively.

     The essential components of CBT-AAPT include the following:

  • Knowledge about autistic adults: differential diagnoses of autism, heterogeneity of the autism population, co-occurring conditions, common challenges in independent living, employment challenges.
  • Knowledge about approaches to support autistic adults: co-occurring conditions (anxiety, depression), common problems (emotion regulation, communication), safety, health and wellness, transportation. Modifications to traditional CBT programs adapted to neuropsychological features of autism are discussed. Examples may include visual aids, highly structured sessions, and flexibility in the length and number of sessions. Other modifications include multiple-choice rather than open-ended questions.
  • Knowledge about evidence-based treatment approaches: non-pharmacologic treatments, principles behind providing pharmacologic treatments for common problems in autistic adults such as inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability & associated aggressive behaviors, mood symptoms, and anxiety.
  • Clinical skills on diagnosis and treatment: through case discussions. CBT-AAPT will include 14 weekly sessions to be delivered to MHPs.


CBT-AAPT is derived from existing literature on autistic adults developed by the course co-director (Gaus, 2019), SBMN developed by the course director (Fung, 2021), strategies to adapt typical CBT approaches to treatment for autistic adults, and materials co-developed by neurotypical and autistic adults. The SBMN adopts the principles of positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) and positive psychiatry (Jeste, 2018), uses the theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner & Hatch, 1989) as the rubric to help autistic adults develop their strengths and interests, and incorporates the Chickering’s seven vectors of development (Chickering & Reisser, 1993) to systematically enhance the development of neurodiverse individuals.


Course Schedule

June 8, 2023 – Course Introduction (LIVE)

June 15, 2023 – Clinical knowledge (Asynchronous)

June 22, 2023 – Case discussions (LIVE)

June 29, 2023 – Clinical knowledge (Asynchronous)

July 6, 2023 – Clinical knowledge (Asynchronous)

July 13, 2023 – Clinical skills – live demonstrations, case consultations and discussions (LIVE)

July 20, 2023 – Clinical skills – live demonstrations, case consultations and discussions (LIVE)

July 27, 2023 – Clinical skills – recorded illustrations (Asynchronous)

August 3, 2023 – Clinical skills – live demonstrations, case consultations and discussions (LIVE)

August 10, 2023 – Clinical skills – recorded illustrations (Asynchronous)

August 17, 2023 – Clinical skills – recorded illustrations (Asynchronous)

August 24, 2023 – Clinical skills – recorded illustrations (Asynchronous)

August 31, 2023 – Clinical skills – live demonstrations, case consultations and discussions (LIVE)

September 7, 2023 – Conclusion and Recap (LIVE)

Course Dates

June 8 to September 7, 2023


Course Pricing

Early Bird (Before or on April 7, 2023): $1,750 

After April 7, 2023: $2,000


Accreditation Statement

In support of improving patient care, Stanford Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Credit Designation

American Medical Association (AMA)

Stanford Medicine designates this Other (synchronous and asynchronous) activity for a maximum of 21.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

American Psychological Association (APA)

Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs.

Lawrence Fung, M.D., Ph.D.

Course Director

Valerie Gaus, Ph.D.

Course Co-Director