Neurodiversity

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Neurodiveristy is a word and concept used to describe and respect the range of human brain functioning. It includes the idea that there is not one "normal" or "healthy" type of brain, but that there is a wide range of brain functioning in the human population. Respecting neurodiversity means recognizing that each individual has personal cognitive strengths, weaknesses and a unique approach to life. 


Individuals identified as neurodivergent have brains and cognitive functioning that differs significantly from most people. They may have diagnoses like learning disabilities, sensory differences, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome or be on the Autism Spectrum. Someone may be neurodivergent for a wide range of reasons- it's how they were born/genetic or it's the result of experiences/events that alter brain development or functioning. Examples of environmentally based neurodivergence include traumatic brain injury, drug use or childhood trauma.


Neurodivergent individuals and their family members often  face unique and complicated challenges compared to neurotypical individuals. In particular, they are often at higher risk for anxiety disorders, depression, chronic mood dysregulation, psychosis, behavioral challenges and traumatic stress. 


Neurodivergent individuals also tend to benefit less from traditional psychotherapy approaches alone. They benefit more from treatment that takes into account their individual cognitive functioning and how this effects their ability to modify their behavior or environment in ways that help them. This may include using a mixed approach that integrates various psychotherapy methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Response Prevention therapy, play therapy/game based therapy, social skills training, family psychotherapy and parent coaching. Psychotherapy in this case is also often one part of a larger treatment plan that may include therapies like occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, psychiatry and others. Psychotherapy for neurodivergent individuals may have short term or long term rehabilitative or habilitative goals. Psychotherapy for neurodivergent individuals may also function as a long term place for emotional support, a place to be oneself safely and a place for reflection about living as a neurodivergent person in a culture geared toward neurotypical people.


I have worked professionally with neurodivergent individuals since 2009. I have lived with and loved neurodivergent family members my whole life. Professionally, I work to  provide comprehensive support, treatment planning, consultation and psychotherapy. I particularly specialize in working with teens and young adults on the autism spectrum, their parents and siblings. I am comfortable collaborating with other providers such at OT, SLP, ABA therapists, educators and psychiatrists.