Neurodiverse Couples Work at Space Between Counseling Services
Neurodiverse coupleships are comprised of one neurotypical partner and one partner with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Perhaps you or your partner have been formally diagnosed by a medical professional with ASD, or you have self-identified yourself as someone who has ASD. In fact, as many as 1 in 6 people may diagnostically qualify for ASD. According to The Autism Aspergers Network, “A partner might be the first person to identify Asperger traits in an individual who has been successful in other areas of life. Intimate relationships can be hard for anyone, but they are especially challenging when partners have different perspectives, communication techniques, approaches, and skill sets.” There is no denying that these differences can be challenging, and yet they may contain some of the reasons why you fell in love with your partner in the first place. You can enhance your relationship by developing a mutual understanding and respect for said differences and identifying how some of these differences contribute positively to your relationship, whereas others create opportunities for growth.
Like any couple, neurodiverse couples are often attracted to one another for various reasons. Many partners in neurodiverse relationships enjoy the complimentary nature of their partnership. Perhaps the neurotypical partner is intrigued and attracted to the systematic nature and intelligence of their partner with ASD. At the same time, the partner with ASD may relish his or her partner’s charisma and ability to navigate social settings. However, that is not to say that all individuals with ASD aren’t socially gifted. Many individuals on spectrum are natural born leaders because they relentlessly and unapologetically tell the truth.
Frequently Ask Questions About Neurodiverse Couples Work:
Neurodiverse couples work is similar to any couples therapy, as it involves a therapist and two identified clients who are in some sort of relationship with one another. A neurodiverse coupleship is comprised of one neurotypical partner and one partner who is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Neurodiverse couples work focuses on the unique challenges that neurodiverse couples face, as they seek to gain better understanding of their relationship, preferences and one another.
What is Neurodiverse Couples Work?
Like any couples therapy, the goal of neurodiverse couples work may vary based on the desires of the individuals and couples.
If your goal is to grow together, couples work may assist you in finding meaning and connection in the little things you share and help you find ways to thrive in a state of connected coupleship long after therapy concludes. Other couples discover their goals may be to move apart and grow individually. In this case, couples work may assist you in making transitions, adapting to your new form of a relationship, and provide you with psychoeducation surrounding grief and change.
What is the goal of neurodiverse couples work?
At Space Between Counseling Services, our couples clinicians are committed to providing neurodiverse couples with empathy and a unique understanding of the distinctive challenges faced by neurotypical-neurodiverse pairs.
While our clinicians may utilize different treatment modalities, such as the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT), the Gottman Method and Terry Real’s Relational Life Therapy (RLT), all SBCS clinicians are trained to understand the internal experiences of both the neurotypical client and the client with an autism spectrum disorder.
We place an emphasis on setting up a mutually supportive environment for both the neurodiverse and neurotypical partner then together, we can begin developing and practicing necessary skills, creatively solving problems, and enhancing emotional connection.
What is Neurodiverse Couples therapy like at Space Between Counseling Services?
According to Janice Roden, “Common symptoms of ASD in adults include:
Trouble interpreting what others are thinking and/or feeling
Difficulty interpreting non-verbal communications such as facial expressions, body language, or social cues
Trouble self-regulating emotion
Difficulty in maintaining a conversation
Trouble reflecting emotions through vocal inflection
A tendency to engage in monologues on a favorite subject rather than participate in mutual conversations
A pattern of engaging in repetitive behaviors
Selectively engaging in only a restricted range of activities
Strict adherence to routines and seemingly grandiose outbursts in the presence of change to said routines
Extensive, deep, or seemingly obsessive interest and knowledge about a particular subject.
Adults can also exhibit repetitive behaviors and have specific, extreme interest in a particular topic like a sports teams or area of history. These interests may border on “obsessions.”
What Does Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Look like in Adults?
It is vital to note the importance of working with a counselor who is familiar with ASD and Neurodiverse coupleships. According to Eva Mendes, LMHC, “Counselors who are not familiar with ASD often tend to ascribe an Asperger or neurodiverse couple’s conflicts and challenges to “personality clashes,” or family of origin issue.”
At Space Between Counseling Services, our therapists are trained to recognize ASD traits in order to avoid mistakenly identifying these traits as pathological symptoms. This allows for couples to instead focus on developing better communication skills and practical solutions to their problems.
According to the Autism Aspergers Network, “Neurology cannot be separated from a person because it affects personality, strengths, talents, and challenges, as well as the way a person views the world, thinks, speaks, behaves, and feels. Neurology matters a great deal in an intimate relationship, since it impacts every conversation a couple has, how they make decisions together, how they raise children together, how they live together, and how they achieve goals together.” Our team of couples therapists at Space Between Counseling Services incorporate aspects of neurology and attachment to specifically understand and target problems that neurodiverse couples face.