Hi, and welcome to this week’s post.
I’ve been posting about Autism in my series, and I’d like to end this part of it with letting you know about a Facebook group that has been set up with the aim of supporting neurodiverse clients in the therapy room.
We created this group with the aim to bring counsellors to get together to discuss neurodiversity in a safe space.
Our goal is not only for therapists to know how to work with the neurodiverse population, but also to raise awareness of what neurodiversity and autism actually entails.
I watched a show yesterday and the guy was talking about diversity, but he said he like the word “representation” better.
It was very timely that I saw this, I think. He was talking about race but it applies here as well.
We want to represent the autistic and neurodiverse population in a positive and empowering manner.
It is because of the imbalance in information and inclusion of neurodiverse groups that we believe in working together, without creating an “us” and “them” environment.
With that in mind, in our group we use “I” statements when we are expressing ourselves, in order to keep away from it becoming polarised.
We encourage conversations, and using “I” statements, helps avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and provides a safe space to have all kinds of conversations, without the need to stop them or “close commenting”, which might happen but it’s been rare with the way we’re running the group.
We purposely sought out Lisa Cromar to be part of the group, as it would be silly to create a group for neurodiverse counsellors without having that voice in the group.
It brings that power balance back to just that – balance. We don’t know everything, we don’t have “insiders” experience as “NTs” which is why, behind the scenes, we ask Lisa to let us know if we’re on the right track or not.
We believe that, as admins, it’s important to keep communicating with each other.
We all have roles in the group, and communicating about each action that we need to take, is making it a safe place for us to admin but also a safe place for counsellors and psychotherapists to further the conversations and cause for the neurodiverse population.
As a group, we understand that there is completely justified anger from both autistic and neurotipicals about the treatment of autistic people – the misunderstandings, the backchat, the looks.
General discrimination and lack of knowledge doesn’t help either.
What we are trying to do with our lovely group is work as a team, a mutually respected team of NDs and NTs.
This is a safe space to feel and be equals. We are all counsellors after all and that unites us firstly.
We are united in the cause to support and remove barriers between society and neurodiversity – this of course will take time, but if we change our attitudes and channel our anger and discomfort in a joint endeavour, then that will bring us further than if we “divide and conquer”.
This group is all about empowerment – to state your opinion, to be supported (within the limitations of a facebook group – it’s not a support or therapy group, or supervision).
If this group is something that sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, feel free to join via this link.
Before I let you go for today, here’s a bit on all the admins of the group:
Lisa is a Person-Centred (PC) counsellor who specialises in working with autistic clients, she provides counselling to members of Cheshire Autism Practical Support (ChAPS), a charity which supports autistic people and their families. Additionally, she provides autism awareness workshops training counsellors in how to make counselling more accessible to this client group, increasing counsellor confidence in working with this group which is currently known to be generally low. She has Aspergers and has children with Aspergers and autism.
Lisa is the author of the pioneering literature review: Exploring the Efficacy of Person-Centred Counselling for Autistic People, published in the spring 2019 edition of The Person Centred Quarterly (PCQ) . Lisa’s eventual career goal is to assume responsibility for pioneering a version of person-centred counselling for autistic people.
I’m Sarah and I work in a person centred way, in simple terms this means that I listen with empathy, and I will always regard you and your experiences with compassion and understanding. My approach is real and genuine.
I am a specialist trauma counsellor, with over eight years experience working with survivors of rape and sexual abuse.
Since qualifying I have counselled adults with autism (sometimes referred to as Asperger’s syndrome)
I am a Person Centred Counsellor working in Manchester city centre, who enjoys empowering people to make the best decisions for themselves.
I work alongside people as they unlock their potential.
I love to see people grow and develop.
My specialities are autism and work related stress.
I was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where I lived for the first 25 years of my life. I am now settled in Brighton and Hove, which I love – I have access to the countryside, the city, the sea, and a melting pot of cultures and activities.
I have a private practice in Brighton and Hove and Online, working with Spanish and English speaking clients with a wide range of life difficulties.
My approach is psychodynamic at its base, but I adapt my therapeutic approach with each individual client, drawing from other modalities and work experience. I believe building good rapport and a good relationship with my clients will help both of us work together to gain insights and freedom from feelings that might be stuck in the past or left unprocessed or repressed.
You can find out more about Karin via the AboutMe page at the top of this blog.
Facebook Group Description
Welcome to ‘Counsellors working with Neurodiversity’. Set up as a resource and a meeting place for UK counsellors to share their knowledge, expertise, events, CPD courses and/or workshops. In the areas for example of Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD; although not exclusive to these aspects.
This group will not be discussing client work, please take it to supervision or contact www.k-brauner-counselling.co.uk/clinical-supervision. Admin will be monitoring strictly to ensure that confidentiality is protected. This rule is for client and counsellor protection alike.
This Facebook group will use as default the term ‘autistic’ when describing a person with autism. A survey by the National Autistic Society (NAS) of 3470 which included 502 autistic adults found that the term ‘autistic’ was preferred by a large percentage of the autistic participants.
Please see below an extract from the NAS website which we support:-
‘The language we use is important because it embodies and can therefore help change attitudes towards autism. To reflect the findings of this research, the NAS has begun to gradually increase the use of the term ‘autistic’ – particularly when talking about and to adults in that group.’ We recognise, that there will be autistic people who prefer the term ‘person with autism,’ and it is obviously important to use each individual’s preference at those times.
For more information on the rationale behind this preference, please see links below:- https://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/describing.aspxhttps://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1362361315588200