Neurodiverse Couples Therapy & Coaching
Feeling alone, confused, angry, stuck, abandoned, yet still yearning for connection and hoping to regain that spark? Many couples report feeling this way but have no idea that neurological differences are impacting their relationship....
Couples therapy and coaching with neurology in mind. Traditional couples therapy often does not account for those who are neurodivergent, and actually cause more harm to an individual or couple if the neurodivergency is not diagnosed or discussed.
Neurodiverse couples therapy and coaching services help to build communication skills, awareness, build emotional safety, intimacy, and heal from possible long term disconnect & pain. There are only around 115 certified couples therapists that are trained through the Asperger/Autism Network in the U.S. to help couples where one or both partners is on the Autism Spectrum. Brooke will be certified through AANE as a Neurodiverse Couples Therapist & Coach in late 2023, and can see couples currently!
If you believe that you and/or your partner may be on the Autism Spectrum, this could immensely help your relationship. If you are unsure or would like more information, feel free to continuing reading below for more insights.
Frequently Asked Questions: Neurodiverse Couples Services
What does "Neurodiverse" mean?
Neurodiverse or Neurodiversity is a fairly new term that describes that people experience and process the world very differently due to neurological wiring differences. Technically, "Neurodivergent" (ND) is often associated with someone being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and it can be associated or characterized of other atypical patterns of thought or behavior. Other forms of neurodivergency are; ADHD, Tourettes & Tic Disorders, Dyslexia, Intellectual Disability, TBI, Dyscalculia, and more. Neurodivergency can be argued that it is a fairly flexible term, since we do all have "different brains" and many mental health conditions and disorders impact our brain wiring.
However, for the means of couples therapy and coaching here, we aim to work more with individuals and couples with Autism, and ADHD. The partner who is not on the Autism Spectrum is usually considered "Neurotypical" (NT).
What if my partner refuses to come to therapy?
That is okay, and completely normal initially. It can be very daunting for some who identify as ND to come for a variety of reasons: shame, unaware of the severity of the disconnect, fear, past negative experiences, and more. Brooke works often one on one with the NT partner to gain insight and skills to show up better in the relationship and problem solve ways to allow the ND partner to feel safe coming to therapy. Often, even if just one partner does come, there has been productive & positive changes to improve relational satisfaction and decrease conflict at home.
What is the difference between therapy and coaching?
A couple of different factors indicate what service should be chosen. First, location. Brooke can only provide therapy to those who are in New York State. Brooke can provide coaching to those outside of New York State, and also within.
Coaching is much more "hands on," goal driven that gives quick tools, and holds accountability for each partner. It is not clinically mental health focused or a medical necessity. Coaching will touch on some components of emotions and each person's past, but it will not make therapeutic recommendations. Coaching will usually touch on a singular event or issue to gain skills and improvements. Some examples would be: budgeting, routines, communication strategies specific to parenting or socializing, ensuring date nights.
Therapy is more process/insight oriented which discusses past histories, trauma histories, and deeper emotional needs due to clinical mental health or medical necessities. Therapy is beneficial for those who need to process and heal from past trauma, explore emotional connections and build intimacy, discuss diagnoses, accessing medical or mental health care, or understanding each other's family of origin stories/values/beliefs to improve connections. If mental health or medical necessity is indicated for a couple, therapy will need to be a priority before entering coaching.
Brooke will always book a free initial 15 minute consultation phone call to gather some history and information to make a recommendation as to whether coaching or therapy is most appropriate.
If residing outside of NYS, Brooke can offer recommendations for couples therapy if needed. Sometimes, therapy and coaching can be done in conjunction if appropriate.
What is the difference between neurodiverse couples therapy and traditional couples therapy?
While there are many nuances and small differences, these make a major difference in outcomes for couples. Some main differences are:
The therapist is trained in taking into account for different sensory processing needs for ND clients. This could look like having fidget toys available, no smells (perfume, air freshner, candles), different types of lighting, etc.
Helping to decode or translate for each partner to allow them to understand what the other person really means.
Taking into account that both partners will most likely have very different perspectives, and working towards building mutual empathy and understanding of them.
Understanding that different verbal and auditory processing needs will look different, so allowing the ND client to process as they need.
Understanding that the ND partner might be missing up to 93% of what's being communicated due to missing nonverbal communication in the room (tone, body language, volume, pace, sarcasm, etc).
Do we have to be diagnosed officially to sign up?
No! You can self identify as neurodivergent, or if need support in finding a professional to formally evaluate and diagnose, Brooke can assist you with this.
Do you work with children and families with neurodivergency?
Currently Brooke does not specialize in this. While some topics might be very similar and overlap, if wanting the whole family or a child to have support, Brooke can refer out to other providers.