Hi, and welcome to this first post in the mini-series, in which I’ll be focusing on a topic and group of people I’m very fond of and really enjoy working with.

I’ve written a few posts about what to expect on your first counselling session (read part 1 and part 2 here).

In this mini-series, I’d like to add a few things about how I might work with someone on the Autism Spectrum.

I leave it as “Autism Spectrum” as it’s not a condition or a disorder, it’s a way of being, and this is the first thing I want my clients to understand — I get it, I get that you are individuals just like everyone else, and as such I’ll treat you like individuals and focus on those things that you want to work on, just like I do with everyone else, but taking into account the diverse ways of processing, thinking and being in the world you might come with.

The word “spectrum” also leads us to a broader aspect of Autism – everyone on the spectrum is different. I’ve never met two people on the spectrum that thought or behaved or had the same exact personality.

It’s the same as with everybody else, but it’s harder for some to understand because it’s something that’s just becoming more common place now to talk about, or to know a lot about for that matter!

(even professionals struggle with Autism, and this really needs to change!)

This is why I offer the service of counselling people on the Autism Spectrum, because I’ve learned through the years how to listen, how to talk or stop talking, how to work with people at different levels of the spectrum.

In my care job I have worked with people with severe to mild to high functioning autism, but the role there is very different of course.

In counselling I mostly see people with Aspergers or High-Functioning.

The topics I work on are very similar to the ones I work on with my other clients, but they might take a different meaning and way of working through them.

As you’ve read in my past posts about autism, for example, empathy is more of a structured process rather than a mainstream way of empathising, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

For these posts, I’d like to reference Katherine Paxton and Irene A. Estay’s book called Counselling people on the Autism Spectrum (chapter 3). 

I’ll leave an outline of what I’ll be talking about in the next posts of this mini-series.

If you have any questions or further suggestions, do let me know and I’ll be happy to add them to my blog posts!

Mini-Series Topics:

  • Contracting
  • Boundaries
  • Focus of the sessions
  • Keeping it literal
  • processing time
  • what’s behaviour due to “autism” and what’s just “human” behaviour
  • alternative ways of working – writing, play, diagrams, social stories (Carol Gray)
  • cognitive restructuring
    • working on the thinking process – empathy by the therapist is key
    • working on social cues and rules
    • responsibility
    • choices
  • using metaphors
  • addressing “set-backs” in the process of therapy
  • goal setting
  • problem-solving approaches
  • transitions
  • anxiety, etc.
  • autonomy helps with self-esteem and with our place in the world
  • how we talk to ourselves has an impact on how we behave and think
  • setting the client up for success

See you in part 2!

Autism/Aspergers – Working together in the therapy room (mini-series- pt.1)