One of the best things about being a counselor is that counseling is relational. We know from the research what leads people to feel successful in therapy, and that is the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. This matters more than the age and experience of the therapist, the particular struggle of the client, the type of therapy used by the therapist, or any other potential influence on counseling. Like other types of relationships, the therapeutic relationship is one in which there is both give and take.
Whitney Storey Blog
This is the second in a series of blogs looking at the experiences of pregnancy for autists, the first of which focused on the process of becoming pregnant and how autists may experience struggles that are different and/or more intense than allistic folks due to the differences in their neurotype. This blog is going to focus specifically on the differences for pregnant autists as compared to allistic pregnant people.
Surprise, surprise - another autism blog for you this month! I'm nothing if not honest when I say that this has been my special interest. And my honesty also shows up (sometimes brutally) when I talk about becoming and being pregnant. Much like my last few blogs, I had always considered these two topics (pregnancy and autism) separately, but lately I have started to see some interesting relationships between the two that I thought it might be worth exploring in a couple of different blogs.
I'm here to propose what I believe to be the Neurodivergent Song of the Summer for 2023, and I'd love to get you on board. If you aren't familiar with the artist AURORA, she is a Norwegian singer and songwriter whose voice you might recognize most from Disney's Frozen II, as the mysterious spirit singing to Elsa. She has had three albums, each of them coming across my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, much to my joy. In addition to her ethereal sound and creative look that speaks to the theatre kid within me, her songs frequently tackle topics that speak to the counselor in me, like identity, mental health, and social issues.
In the online communities I am a part of, there has been an increase in the conversations happening related to growing up in the church as an autist. For my entire adulthood, I have been actively processing the experiences I had in the church growing up, the experiences I now attribute to my autism, and my sense of self - but always separately. It's only recently, at least partially because of the community of other adult autists who have been on the same journey, that I have started to consider the intricate overlap between all of these experiences and parts of me in a way that actually makes much more sense.
Folks who know me are well aware (and dare I say, tickled) at the way I am able to walk a very fine line between being rigidly rule-governed and, at the same time, aggressively rebellious (thank you, autism). I think this is one reason that I find myself being drawn to and working so well with clients who appreciate structure and also the beauty of going against social norms.
If you have had a conversation with me in the last year or so, odds are I have brought up neurodivergence. (Cue the eye rolling and the groans from my friends and family.) I have been really diving into the neurodivergence world since I started to identify my own neurodivergence, and since then you could say that neurodivergence broadly and autism in adult women specifically have become my latest special interests.
Working with parents has been my niche for a long time now, and I have been a parent myself for nearly ten years (which blows my mind). Over these years I have really found myself relating to and working particularly well with certain groups of what I consider to be "forgotten parents." These are parents we (as a society) tend to either not notice or purposefully ignore. The first of these forgotten parents is a group I happen to be a member of: neurodivergent parents.
If you have spent any time on TikTok lately, odds are you have come across some videos where folks (with a healthy helping of good humor) discuss the specific behaviors that have led them to discover, usually later in life, that they might actually be neurodivergent.
I have been having so many conversations lately with friends, family, and clients about neurodivergence. Neurodivergence has become my latest special interest (more on that in a later blog), and one of the questions I keep hearing from others is: how do I learn to unmask?! I have to admit that I have not been the most helpful counselor in those moments as I, too, have been wondering that very thing. Up until very recently, the answer has been a very distressed, "I don't know!" I have some good news, though - I think I finally have some real advice.