As therapists, we often see a wide range of clients with varying backgrounds and experiences. However, one aspect that may be overlooked is neurodivergence. Neurodivergence is a term used to describe people whose neurological development and functioning might differ from what is commonly considered “neurotypical.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Think of it like this - neurodivergent individuals tend to have brains that run a little differently and we must understand these differences.
As therapists, it's crucial that we are aware of neurodivergence and how it can affect our clients. This knowledge allows us to create more informed, empathetic, and effective therapy sessions. And let's be real, who doesn't want to be a more informed, empathetic and effective therapist? That's why most of us got into this profession, we care and we want to help.
So, let's dive into why understanding neurodivergence is so important. With 1 in 5 people globally identifying as neurodivergent, it's likely that you'll see clients in your therapy practice who identify as such. Not to mention the fact that neurodivergent individuals are often marginalized and face significant barriers in society. They are also more likely to have a trauma history that affects their current functioning. By understanding their needs, we can help to combat stigma and provide more inclusive and affirming environments.
Moreover, neurodivergent individuals often face different challenges than neurotypical individuals:
Social interaction, communication, social anxiey
Sensory processing or Sensory sensitivities
Polyvicitimization- bullying, Physical and emotional abuse, and sexual abuse
So tailor your therapy approach to accommodate them:
Using visual aids
Reducing sensory input during sessions
Using coping strategies for neurological differences: fidgets, noise canceling headphones, weighted blankets, and light reducing glasses- just to name a few.
Adapting communication styles
Providing additional support in areas like time-management and organization
Understanding neurodivergence also means recognizing the strengths and unique perspectives that neurodivergent individuals can bring. Many neurodivergent individuals have an intense focus and creativity that can be incredibly useful in therapy. By embracing these strengths, we can help to build more robust and holistic treatment plans.
Incorporating neurodiversity into our therapy practice is also an act of social justice. We can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society by challenging ableism and recognizing the value of neurodivergent individuals. Furthermore, by destigmatizing neurodivergence and promoting acceptance, we can create a more authentic and diverse therapeutic experience.
So, dear therapists, let's keep neurodivergence on our radars. By doing so, we can create better therapeutic experiences, promote social justice, and build more empathetic and inclusive communities. And ultimately create better outcomes for our clients!
Check out our Neurodivergence class for therapists by therapists.