What is neurodiversity, and why might you want to discuss it in therapy?

Neurodiversity refers to natural differences that exist in how brains work between different people. When talking about neurodiversity, there’s usually a focus on neurodivergence or neurodivergent people; Neurodivergent is a term that usually encapsulates a range of development “disorders”, including ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, and Dyspraxia. For a long time, we have viewed neurodivergent people through the lens of dysfunction – labeling them only for what they can’t do as opposed to recognizing unique talents and perspectives they bring to the table. Because of stigmas and barriers, many neurodivergent people report higher rates of mental illness. Therapy can become a space for someone who doesn’t fit perfectly into a neurotypical (meaning “those who aren’t neurodivergent”) world to process through the challenges and work towards fostering a more positive view of themselves and their conditions.

What is Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapy (NAT), and how can it help you navigate neurodivergence?

Past interventions around neurodiversity have focused primarily on trying to “fix” one’s disability by forcing neurodiverse people into fitting certain boxes of what society deems as normal functioning. Not only can this idea that there is a singular correct way for a brain to function be damaging to one’s mental health, but in many cases, it also just doesn’t work to “change” a neurodiverse person. Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapy (NAT) rejects the narrative of corrective interventions to instead focus on identifying and affirming client strengths. Goals of NAT can include increasing insight around one’s own thought patterns, identifying new strategies of confronting barriers a neurodivergent person might face, and challenging stigmas around neurodiversity that create shame and worsen mental health for neurodivergent people.

Our therapists focus on providing compassionate and validating care to clients in which clients are seen as capable and complete people inherently. Therapy around neurodiversity can take on many different faces depending on what the individual wants to work on, and our therapists affirm clients by meeting them where they are at. Our therapists also understand the importance of relationship building in NAT and do their best to approach clients with knowledge and empathy regarding common obstacles neurodivergent clients may face.

Ready to get started?