Vol 17, No 1 (2020)
Case report
Published online: 2020-03-01
Get Citation

Kassandra’s syndrome

Justyna Holka-Pokorska, Adam Kucharski
DOI: 10.5603/PSYCH.2020.0008
·
Psychiatria 2020;17(1):49-54.

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Vol 17, No 1 (2020)
Prace kazuistyczne
Published online: 2020-03-01

Abstract

The most characteristic neuropsychological deficits in people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) relate to the area
of social cognition and executive functions. Neurotypical family members or partners of high-functioning people with
ASD, unknowingly take on roles related to mentalization of mental states and replenishment of deficits of executive
functions of their loved ones. The described phenomenon has been called Kasandra’s syndrome or mirroring syndrome.
It coexists with a number of adverse emotional consequences for the partners of autistic persons. The purpose of
this article is to present the cognitive distortions underlying the mirror syndrome that can lead to secondary emotional
disorders in their partners.
The analysis of the presented problems and case report allows to make several recommendations for the therapy of
emotional disorders in neurotypical people in relationships with ASD partners. The diagnosis of cognitive and behavioral
deficits presented by autistic partners and cognitive distortions that are created by neurotypical persons during the long-
-term process of unconscious, traumatic “mind mapping” are of fundamental importance. The most common cognitive
distortions relay on: the tunnel thinking, the assigning positive and negative motivations, and minimizing the negative
behavioral impact of an ASD partner on the social environment.
The awareness of the described phenomena allows better addressing the goals of therapy for both patients with
Kasandra’s syndrome and people with ASD who are in partnerships

Abstract

The most characteristic neuropsychological deficits in people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) relate to the area
of social cognition and executive functions. Neurotypical family members or partners of high-functioning people with
ASD, unknowingly take on roles related to mentalization of mental states and replenishment of deficits of executive
functions of their loved ones. The described phenomenon has been called Kasandra’s syndrome or mirroring syndrome.
It coexists with a number of adverse emotional consequences for the partners of autistic persons. The purpose of
this article is to present the cognitive distortions underlying the mirror syndrome that can lead to secondary emotional
disorders in their partners.
The analysis of the presented problems and case report allows to make several recommendations for the therapy of
emotional disorders in neurotypical people in relationships with ASD partners. The diagnosis of cognitive and behavioral
deficits presented by autistic partners and cognitive distortions that are created by neurotypical persons during the long-
-term process of unconscious, traumatic “mind mapping” are of fundamental importance. The most common cognitive
distortions relay on: the tunnel thinking, the assigning positive and negative motivations, and minimizing the negative
behavioral impact of an ASD partner on the social environment.
The awareness of the described phenomena allows better addressing the goals of therapy for both patients with
Kasandra’s syndrome and people with ASD who are in partnerships

Get Citation

Keywords

autistic spectrum disorder, Cassandra phenomenon, mind-mapping, posttraumatic relationship syndrome

About this article
Title

Kassandra’s syndrome

Journal

Psychiatria (Psychiatry)

Issue

Vol 17, No 1 (2020)

Article type

Case report

Pages

49-54

Published online

2020-03-01

DOI

10.5603/PSYCH.2020.0008

Bibliographic record

Psychiatria 2020;17(1):49-54.

Keywords

autistic spectrum disorder
Cassandra phenomenon
mind-mapping
posttraumatic relationship syndrome

Authors

Justyna Holka-Pokorska
Adam Kucharski

References (7)
  1. DSM-V American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA 2013.
  2. Lezak M. The Problem of Assessing Executive Functions. International Journal of Psychology. 1982; 17(1-4): 281–297.
  3. Attwood T. Zespół ASpergera. Kompletny przewodnik. Harmonia Uniwersalis, Gdańsk 2012.
  4. Vandervoort D, Rokach A. Posttraumatic Relationship Syndrome. Clinical Case Studies. 2016; 5(3): 231–247.
  5. Rodman K. Post-traumatic relationship syndrome, 2011. https://www. theneurotypical.com/posttraumatic_relationship_syndrome.html (10.09.2019).
  6. Bateman A, Fonagy P. Psychotherapy for borderline Personality disorder. Mentalisation-based treatment. Oxford University Press 2009.
  7. Schnarch D. Brain talk. How mind mapping brain science can change your life & everyone in it. Sterling Publishers 2018.

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