Counselling for Neurodivergent Individuals, Couples, and Families 

Why can't we just be "normal"?

When you're sitting down with other folks at a similar life stage, there is this twinge in 

your stomach. You can relate so much on some things, but at times, you are just reminded of how different you and your family are.

On the best of days, being Neurodivergent is tough. On other days, ADHD, Autism, OCD, sensory differences, (or whatever other combo of brain stuff you experience), can make living in this society nearly impossible. Expectations always seem to change. You can't arrive on time for anything. Your thoughts seem out of control sometimes. You know, even in the midst of social situations, that you are missing something, but you just can't seem to figure out what it is.Or maybe you understand social situations but still hate them. Learning is hard, being in the grocery store is hard, being in a pandemic-filled world is impossible, and the ways that you are coping aren't always great.

 

And living with a Neurodivergent person? That's tough, too. It's hard to communicate, hard to get your needs met, and hard to predict what the other person is thinking, what they need, or what they are feeling. 

 

Counselling for Neurodivergent Individuals

 

Whether you have had a lifelong diagnosis, were diagnosed yesterday, or have never sought a formal diagnosis of Autism or ADHD, you have always known you were different. For some, these diagnoses bring shame because it highlights their differences and makes them more official. For others, especially those diagnosed as adults, it can relieve shame because all of a sudden, it's not that they are failing, it's that their brains are just different. Whatever your experience, living as an atypical person in a typical world can lead to an ongoing sense of never quite getting it right or never quite fitting in.

 

Counselling for Neurodiverse Families

 

When a neurotypical and neurodivergent folks live in a house together, things can get complicated. Brain differences lead to differences in pretty much everything else you can think of. Sometimes you might even feel like you live in different realities.

  • You have very different ideas about what "clean" means or if that's even a priority.

  • Negotiating a schedule is fine on paper but in reality, you all have very different perspectives on timelines, preparedness, and social dynamics.

  • You think differently about belongings: which things to keep and which things to take to Goodwill. 

  • Within your community or extended family, you might not all feel equally acknowledged or understood.

  • Some of you are super black and white, and the others see endless nuance.

  • Some of you are perfectionists and some of you take things as they come.

  • Some of you get energy from spontaneity and socializing, and some of you prefer to have quiet, predictable time mainly to yourselves.

Counselling for Neurodiverse Couples

 

When you and your partner have different brains, you have all the above problems plus some, like:

  • What makes the perfect Friday night date?

  • How do you negotiate life priorities and goals that meet the needs of both of you?

  • How often should you have sex, and what does that look like emotionally and practically?

  • How do you parent?

  • How do you share responsibilities?

  • How do you connect, express your feelings, show your vulnerabilities to one another?

Those are some big things to have differences on. In fact, we have seen many couples get to the point where it feels like these differences are insurmountable. How do you figure things out when you are starting from two totally different starting points?

 

Neurodiversity is a superpower.

 

The way that we look at it, what makes you tick is what makes you great. Do you always wear socks with sandals? Awesome. Do you love spontaneity and hate being tied down? Awesome. Do you find working from home to be either the absolute best or absolute worst thing that has every happened to you? Awesome. Neurodivergent people are some of the most creative, most brilliant people to walk the earth.

 

ADHDers have a reputation for being fun, inspiring, spontaneous, and out-of-the-box thinkers. Autistic folks are known often for focus, depth of knowledge, recognizing complex patterns, and feeling things deeply and profoundly. These are all just cliches, of course. You may identify with these things, or you might be totally different. The point is this: however your brain works, it is helping your experience the world in a very unique way, different from the majority of people out there. Yes, this can be frustrating, but in the end, we want to help our clients understand and embrace their unique version of awesome. And we want families and couples to see that in each other, also.

 

We get that things can start to feel pretty lonely when you live in a world that doesn't get you, though. We have found that there is a huge need for support for Neurodivergent folks, especially in the relational context, and very few supports out there specifically for them. That's why we devoted a whole page to this topic.

 

Whether you come in by yourself or with a family member, we will work with you to:

  1. Understand yourself better. What are you strengths and weaknesses? What do you love and what drives you up the wall? How did you learn to cope with being different when you were a child, and how has that shifted as an adult. Where do you feel stuck? Afraid? Ashamed?

  2. Understand those around you better. How does your child see the world differently from you? When your partner makes that face or uses that tone of voice, how do you interpret it, and what do they actually mean? For your partner, what is it like to go out to restaurants, or to be with your family for a week, or to not have a clear idea of who does which household chore?

  3. Express your needs and have them be heard. When you want to be alone, it's to refresh, not because you don't love your family. When you raise your voice, it's because that's how your Italian mom communicated, not always because you are angry. When the kitchen is cluttered, your brain goes into overdrive and it's hard to even think straight. When you shut down or cry or get anxious, sometimes you know why, and sometimes you don't, but either way it's not your partner's fault.

Square peg, Square hole.

 

What would it be like to be at ease again in your life and in your home? To be A-Ok and confident in who you are and what you need? To fall in love again with the quirks and qualities that drew you to your partner in the first place? To not be so defensive with your family members when they say something that strikes you as harsh, confusing, inaccurate, or absolute?

 

We believe that you have an invaluable role to play in your home and in the world. We also know that it's tough to get there on your own. There is a LOT written here, but you may still have questions. Feel free to reach out for further info, or read more about our therapists to find the right fit, or book a consultation session at a time that works for you.