This case involves a 12 year old Indian Sikh boy who’s Asperger syndrome focus was on astronomy and telescopes. His parents were highly concerned about the lack of normal social behavior and other behaviors associated with Aspergers Syndrome.
Dealing with Aspergers Syndrome using clinical hypnotherapy has a wide range of outcomes. Changes can range from a minimal 5% change in behavior to a more robust 80% change. Unfortunately there is no real way to know how effective clinical hypnotherapy will be until a few sessions have past and some sort of evaluation can be made.
The method used focuses on expanding the interest base. In this case astronomy and telescopes is the starting point. To understand this you need to think of drilling a hole. You start off with a small hole being their existing set of interests, and then open the hole up with progressively bigger drills.
The primary difference between using hypnotherapy and a more traditional cognitive approach is hypnotherapy can much more deeply anchor interests in associated topics, and do it much more quickly.
For example in this case talking about the high tech telescope mirrors that are controlled by computers. Through a series of hydraulics the telescope mirrors are distorted in real time to compensate for atmospheric distortion. This is done by firing a high powered laser into the sky and the computer that distorts the mirrors senses the shape of the laser spot and sharpens it up just like an auto focus on a camera. So capturing attention in this technology effectively expands the Aspergers syndrome focal point.
As for the other symptoms like lacking of social skills, that is a different element and unfortunately there is no one size fits all method or approach. However when you start to read the feedback from the expanded interest in the telescope technology, taking that and building on it gives direction on how to work with the next step. In this case it was suggested that he try to capture other peoples interest in this and other related technologies. Smart phones became a good bridging technology. So that became the next anchor point as many of his friends had access to this technology, and that started to improve his social interaction.
The above steps are repeated as many times as needed and also starting to talk about and teach the ‘How to’ of interpersonal skills so they can have better results in their discussions. As he was interested in having a more fruitful discussion with his friends, this became the motivator and that too was anchored with a hypnotic suggestion.
In this case about a 50% overall improvement was seen in about 4 months time. Then only periodic visits with decreasing frequency was needed to make minor adjustments to the therapy to keep him on track.