Affirmative Psychotherapy for Neurodivergent Adults 18+

Autism, ADHD and Giftedness

Autism, ADHD and Giftedness frequently co-occur in varying combinations, alongside other conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dyscalculia. The term "neurodiversity" seeks to frame these variations as natural differences in human brain function. It is worth noting that while these differences are part of the natural spectrum, they can lead to disabilities primarily because societal structures often fail to accommodate these variations.

I find it somewhat humbling to admit that despite five years of psychotherapy training, I gained no insight into neurodivergent conditions such as Autism, ADHD and Giftedness, nor how they manifest in individuals. It was my engagement with content from Autistic creators on TikTok that mirrored my experiences, leading me to seek a formal diagnosis, primarily due to concerns about my own biases.

Some telltale signs of neurodivergent processing include feeling out of sync with those around you, having intense focus on specific interests, experiencing challenges with traditional learning or working environments, or finding that conventional approaches to problem-solving don’t always work for you. Maybe you’ve noticed these patterns and wondered why. If this resonates with you, I might be able to help shed light on the questions you may have.

Is a Diagnosis Necessary?
The uptick in autism and ADHD diagnoses reflects not a trend but progress in research. A formal diagnosis should come from specialised services, yet self-diagnosis is absolutely valid and is a step towards self-awareness and understanding. While I can’t provide formal diagnoses, I’m here to support you in understanding the benefits and challenges of both formal diagnosis and self-identification. This understanding can lead to validation, relief from past confusions, and a new perspective on your experiences. Embracing your neurodivergent traits as part of your identity is empowering.

What is masking and why is it a problem?
Masking, a coping mechanism developed to fit into social norms, can be exhausting for neurodivergent folks. Constantly concealing one’s true self to conform to societal expectations takes an emotional toll, contributing to stress, anxiety, depression and burnout. By understanding the concept of masking and its purpose and implications, individuals can work towards masking less, leading to improved mental health and a sense of connection to oneself and others.

How does constructing a new identity help?
Discovering your neurodivergent traits offers a powerful opportunity to build a more authentic identity. This process, while enriching, can also present challenges. It’s about uncovering and embracing parts of yourself that may have been overshadowed by societal expectations or masking. Accepting your differences can strengthen your sense of self, improve relationships, and boost your self-esteem. It also opens up opportunities for connections with others on similar paths, enhancing the feeling of community and belonging.