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

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Kassandra’s syndrome

Justyna Holka-Pokorska1, Adam Kucharski2
Psychiatria 2020;17(1):49-54.


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

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