Are you an adult on the autism spectrum or in a relationship with an individual with ASD and do you feel like you are struggling with the important relationships in your life? Whether you are stuck in unhealthy communication cycles, spiraling further away from feeling connected, or struggling to stay on the same page with those you care deeply about, I can help. Relationship and couples therapy is a safe place to explore communication styles, identify areas of growth, and gain insight on new ways to connect with your loved ones in a safe space. With a deep-rooted belief that healing often happens in the context of relationships, I am passionate about supporting neurodivergent couples through navigating common life stressors while creating healthy relationships with each other.
Tips and Considerations for ASD Couples Counseling
What considerations should you make when choosing your therapist if you or your partner are on the autism spectrum?
At ABC Behavioral, I specialize in working with neurodivergent individuals and families on the autism spectrum. It’s important when considering couples counseling for neurodivergent partners, that you have a therapist who can also understand the issues you are facing together through the ASD dynamics lens and how this can play a role in any relationship disconnect concerns. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder in which individuals with ASD struggle in varying degrees with social, emotional, and communication skills. Each individual with ASD is unique, therefore having a therapist who understands this important piece and individualizes therapy to meet your needs is crucial.
Some common areas in couples therapy that can be addressed with partners on the autism spectrum:
- Difficulty with identifying and expressing emotions in themselves and/or with their partners
- Challenges with perspective-taking and understanding a partners experience in the relationship
- Difficulty expressing needs in the moment
- Challenges with advocating for self and setting boundaries
- Inflexible and rigid thinking patterns where one can feel often stuck
- Difficulty with social and pragmatic communication skills
- Challenges with understanding their partner’s needs and validating their experience
- Difficulty reading and interpreting others feelings and others emotional experience in the relationship
Choosing the Right Therapist for your Neurodivergent Relationship Needs
While these may be challenges that are common in relationships with individuals who also have ASD, they are treatable with the right therapy and with a therapist who understands how the ASD dynamics interplay within the context of social relationships. Individuals with ASD require a tailored approach that coaches, models and supports them through learning important relationship and social skills. At ABC Behavioral, I am able to provide a relational counseling approach that not only understands the ASD relationship dynamics but also supports the neurotypical partner as well. For the neurotypical individual, it can feel challenging to be in a relationship with a partner who is struggling to meet your own needs or connect to your experiences in the relationship. Couples therapy can be a safe place for you to gain insight and awareness around your relationship with your ASD loved one and help you understand how to support each other in creating healthy and loving connections.
While couples therapy with individuals on the autism spectrum may require more support than traditional marriage and family therapy approaches, it is possible with the right therapist that healing can happen in the relationship to cultivate the level of intimacy, safety, and connection you desire with each other.
When searching for a couples therapist, it is essential you find someone who can understand the neurodivergent and neurotypical experiences and can help you navigate the complexities of how ASD plays a role in your relationship.
As always, if you made it this far, thank you for spending your valuable time reading this post. If you would like to discuss how I can be of support in your neurodivergent relationship to create loving and healthy connections, please reach out for a free 30-minute phone consultation.