I was identified as autistic and ADHD late in life. Absorbing this information has been quite the journey, and has helped me to make sense of so many moments in my life.
Since that time, I've dedicated my talents and my practice to hearing and helping adults that are neurodivergent - including autistic and ADHD. I have worked with a wide and inclusive range of clients on issues such as trauma, depression, substance use, stress and anxiety, gender and sexual identity, and many others. Understanding how these conditions affect a neurodivergent person allows me to help that person achieve even more healing.
The neurodiversity movement views autism and ADHD as normal ways of existing as humans, not as something “pathologically wrong” with a person. A counselor must choose their approach (as both of these models cannot coexist and be correct). I follow the neurodiversity model (with a caveat that I stay aware of, indeed certified in, mainstream teachings on the matter).
Build a life that doesn't hurt.
My approach is client-centered, which means that I believe that the therapeutic relationship between a counselor and client is the most important aspect of therapy. I am neurodivergent myself and this allows for a unique therapeutic rapport with neurodivergent clients who have not felt well-understood in the past. Beyond that, my tools are cognitive-behavioral in nature, with a heavy emphasis on mindfulness skills and self compassion. All are evidence-based approaches for autistic and ADHD clients.
In 2021, I became a Certified Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (CASDCS) after learning about the unique ways in which females and non-binary folks experience being autistic. In 2022, I expanded this education to include a specific certification as an ADHD-Certified Clinical Services Provider (ADHD-CCSP) to add as many tools as possible for improving executive function and understanding motivation in both Autism and ADHD. The two certification programs focused primarily on the “pathology” of these conditions as described by the medical model. However, in my work, I embrace the neurodiversity model and enjoy teaching neurodivergent clients (autism, ADHD, etc.) about this concept because of the healing that it can bring.