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Not All Couple Counselors are Experienced in Treating Asperger's

Not All Couple Counselors are Experienced in Treating Asperger's
December 26, 2015
While labels are ofter not helpful when couples make the decision to seek counseling, if someone is worrying whether or not a partner has Asperger’s Syndrome, it is usually very helpful to consult with someone who really understands this term. Not all Couple’s Counselors are experienced in treating and diagnosing Asperger’s.

The presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a couple can open the door for several unwanted challenges to a relationship.

ASD is often characterized by impaired communication and social abilities among other symptoms, which can strain an otherwise good relationship.

When a partner has Asperger’s we often compare that relationship to a friend’s or family’s relationship holding a “normal” or (NT neurotypical) partner in mind as an ideal. This only causes us more hurt and despair.

Several couples seek help from relationship counselors when one member is thought to be “on the spectrum”. However, not all marriage counselors are experienced in treating neurodiverse couples. Whether you or your partner have been told (or believe) there is AS standing in the way of better communication, any counseling you seek should be with someone who has a specialty in this area.

Often counselors without specific knowledge about AS treat their patients problems as if they are rooted in personality conflicts when, in fact, the characteristics of ASD are conflicting with those of the NT - when the cognitive styles of each partner are clearly different.

NT’s are often unfamiliar with the experience and thought process of someone who is suffering from ASD. Someone living in an NT society can be frustrated and confused about why others are often misunderstanding their words and intentions. An ASD-specific counselor can help break those barriers by providing information in order to generate better understanding among the neurodiverse couple.

A therapist who is very familiar with this type of diversity in thinking and feeling styles, can walk a couple through strategies specifically tailored for couples where one partner suffers from ASD and the other partner doesn’t understand what this is about. New tools are needed for social and communication skills. A lot of the improvement comes not from insight, but from re-learning how to be with each other and from learning to accept that some of your problems stem from being different, not from being indifferent - although it may seem like that. With help, information, and practice, a neurodiverse couple can improve communication and rebuild a committed relationship.