Neurodiverse Couples Therapy

Are You Struggling To See Eye-To-Eye In Your Relationship?

Do you or your partner have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or another form of neurodivergence that impacts your daily life and relationship? Are communication setbacks or challenges in emotional reciprocity causing you to feel disconnected from your partner? Neurodiverse Couples Therapy can help. 

If you’re neurodivergent, you may have difficulty identifying and expressing your emotions. It’s possible that you’re regularly preoccupied, anxious, or incapable of remaining present with others. Or perhaps you’re prone to rigid thinking patterns that make it hard for you to understand your partner’s perspectives.

If you have trouble reading and interpreting the emotions of others, your partner may complain that you don’t understand or validate their needs. Maybe it’s difficult for you to comprehend the experience they’re having within the relationship. Alternatively, you may struggle to set boundaries or advocate for yourself in a way that your partner can effectively respond to.

Neurotypical Partners Can Feel Alienated By Neurodivergent Behaviors

As the neurotypical partner of someone with Autism and/or ADHD, you may feel as though your needs are not getting met. Maybe the two of you differ in the ways that you experience and express emotions, therefore, you might feel like there is a fundamental division within the relationship. You too could be struggling to convey boundaries and needs to a partner who views your environment and relationship from an entirely different perspective.

However, finding harmony with your partner is possible. By working with a clinician who specializes in counseling neurodiverse couples, therapy can help your relationship thrive.

Neurodiverse Partnerships Have To Contend With Unique Obstacles

With continued research and awareness, we are finding that neurodivergence is increasingly common—especially in adults whose condition may have been overlooked in childhood. This means that more and more individuals and couples are faced with obstacles that come with being neurodiverse in a neurotypical world.

Many combinations of neurodivergent and neurotypical couples exist, with one or both partners adapting to life with Autism and/or ADHD. Not to mention, neurodivergent conditions are often co-occurring with other mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, OCD, complex trauma, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This can put further strain on a couple as one or both partners not only experience emotional distress but also have to navigate how autism and/or ADHD impacts their relationship. In partnerships where one or both individuals are autistic or otherwise neurodiverse, couples often struggle to communicate, create boundaries, and reciprocate emotions.

Specialized Marriage And Relationship Counseling Is Important For Neurodiverse Couples

Therapy offers a great opportunity for all couples to come together and resolve issues from a united front. However, it’s important that couples involved in neurodiverse partnerships work with a clinician who understands the particular marriage and relationship problems faced by those living with autism, ADHD, and other forms of neurodivergence.

Each autistic or otherwise neurodivergent individual is unique, therefore, working with a couples therapist that embraces and celebrates the exceptional qualities of the relationship—and the individuals in it—is essential.

At Spectrum Connections Therapy, our clinicians specialize in counseling neurodiverse individuals and couples. Working with a therapist who affirms your identity can help you develop new skills and perspectives within the relationship.

Neurodiverse Couples Therapy Offers Clarity, Skills-Building, And Perspective

In combining aspects of traditional marriage counseling with identity-affirming relational elements, counseling at Spectrum Connections individualizes the therapeutic process for each of our neurodiverse couples. We will work with both of you to find and assert your voice in the relationship so that you can grow together.

Ours is a comprehensive approach that seeks to understand your unique relationship strengths and dynamics. Neurodiverse couples therapy may include psychoeducation that will help you see how autism and/or ADHD impacts the relationship, as well as vital emotional, relational, and communication skills to help you reconnect with your significant others.

We cultivate a safe, open therapeutic space where both of you can gain meaningful insight into your relationship and one another. While one of the goals of therapy will be to help the neurodivergent partner feel seen and supported, we will also spend time working on the neurotypical partner’s needs and objectives for counseling. The goal of therapy is to help both individuals find their voice alongside creating a mutual sense of peace, connection and balance within the partnership.

Why The Gottman Method Is Useful For Couples Where One Or Both Partners Is Autistic

Our approach to neurodiverse couples therapy incorporates elements of The Gottman Method, a therapeutic technique specifically designed for partnerships. Using this method, your therapist will help you and your significant other find shared meaning in your experiences, improve verbal communication, enhance intimacy, and remove the barriers that create ongoing conflict.

We’ve found that The Gottman Method is particularly beneficial for our autistic couples because it is a skills-based therapy structured in nature. Since the time in counseling is spent building a relationship toolbox and completing communication-specific tasks, neurodivergent clients are likely to find that this therapeutic process better aligns with their unique experience of the world.

It’s possible to transform your relationship into a symbol of safety, understanding, and mutual support. With therapy for neurodiverse couples, you and your partner can cultivate the deep and lasting connection you desire.

Maybe You’re Curious About Neurodiverse Couples Counseling, But You Still Have Questions…

There is no formal diagnosis for me/my partner, but many of our challenges align with those of neurodiverse partnerships. Can therapy help?

At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we don’t believe that neurodivergence is a disorder, nor do we pathologize signs and symptoms. Instead, we aim to embrace and celebrate the unique traits of our autistic and otherwise neurodivergent individual and couples clients. If you suspect that your relationship challenges are related to issues of neurodivergence, couples therapy can help you cultivate mutual understanding, acceptance, and harmony.

What is the structure of neurodiverse couples therapy?

Typically, our couples sessions follow a 2-1-1-2 format. This means that your first session is together as a couple, followed by two individual sessions during which both of you will fill out a Gottman evaluation. After your clinician reviews your assessments, you will reconvene as a couple in session to discuss your results and develop a plan for your remaining time in therapy. From there, the remaining sessions will generally include both of you.

How long will we be in counseling?

Neurodiverse couples therapy is a highly individualized process, which means that there is no set timeline for how long you will be in session. Your time spent in therapy will depend on what your couples assessment calls for, your goals, and the progress you make together. Some of our couples find that they feel satisfied with the process once their short-term goals have been met, while others prefer to stay in therapy to work on longer-term goals.

Neurodiverse Couples Blog Posts:

5 Communication Tips for Couples

Communication is one of the key components of any successful relationship. While most people know that, it doesn’t mean communicating with your partner is always easy. It also doesn’t mean the communication habits in your relationship are always healthy.  Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your communication as a couple. By making healthy

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Dating While Neurodivergent: Boundaries & Expectations

Dating is a nuanced experience for everyone. No two situations are exactly alike. Whether you’re heading out on a first date or you’ve been seeing a special someone for a while, the dating world can be a little stressful for everyone. However, it’s often especially overwhelming for neurodivergent individuals.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date.

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Is Your Partner on the Spectrum? Try These Tips to Understand Them Well

Are you a neurotypical person with a partner on the Autism Spectrum? Are you struggling to find ways to connect and relate in everyday ways? You aren’t alone in your experience. Many couples in similar circumstances struggle as they try to find harmony and balance together in their intimate partnerships. At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we

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Gottman Couples Therapy: What It Is & Why It Works

We hear all the time that relationships are “hard work.” Yet, perhaps they are so difficult because tools for relationship success and satisfaction are not taught early enough or thoroughly enough from the start. What if there were proven techniques available to help restore your struggling connection? What if you knew what to do to

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How Do Attachment Types Develop and What Can You Learn From Them?

Starting from an early age, our lives are often shaped by the people who surround us. Known as attachment theory, it explores the connection that humans have with one another. Most often, the connection between caregiver and infant. Attachment theory looks at the various ways bonds in life influence us as we grow up into

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Podcast with Dr. Nicole Gurash: Navigating the Spectrum

Recently I chatted with Michele Portlock with Navigating the Spectrum, located in Parker, Colorado. We chatted about neurodiversity-affirming and trauma-informed care for the neurodivergent community. If you’d like to listen to the podcast, here is the link.

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How to Improve Communication in Your Neurodiverse Relationship

Communication, for any couple, is a continual work in progress. Your neurodiverse relationship is no exception. Whether one or both of you are on the autism spectrum, the challenges to feeling mutually heard and understood are real and ongoing. Coming together to engage and respond to each other effectively is vital to a lasting connection.

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Both Of You Can Feel Seen And Understood In Your Relationship

If you and/or your partner have autism and/or ADHD, neurodiverse couples therapy can help you build skills and find common ground in the relationship.  

Contact us to schedule a free, 30-minute phone consultation to find out more about how we can help.

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