This article describes a theoretical framework to explain the differential diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attachment Disorder. The basic assumption is that both disorders can show the same symptoms that arise from an underdevelopment of mentalization and intersubjectivity. The reason, however for this underdevelopment differs in these two disorders. Neurobiological abnormalities are seen in ASD, where in Attachment Disorder the relational dynamics between child and caregiver plays an important role. Neurobiological assessment to diagnose these abnormalities is not easy to put into practice. Therefore observation of the relational dynamics between child and caregiver is required to make the right diagnosis. Subsequent psychotherapeutic treatment should, based upon this diagnosis, broaden the perspective beyond the symptoms.
The tPeP (Journal Person-centered experiential Psychotherapy) is the scientific journal for Dutch and Flemish psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, that work from, or are interested in a client-centered perspective.