I am restricting my couple counseling at this time to couples who have one member on the autism spectrum, or who suspect one member is on the spectrum. If your relationship fits this description, please read on…
Have you been experiencing communication difficulties in your primary relationship? Do you feel lonely, and that your partner doesn’t understand you? Does your partner tell you you’re not “logical”? Do you feel your partner is logical, but doesn’t take your emotions into consideration? Does your partner keep his or her emotions bottled up, then “explode” when the pressure becomes too great? Autism spectrum disorders present these challenges and more to intimate relationships. Couple counseling can help you and your partner understand how A.S.D. affects your relationship, and teach you ways to communicate with each other more effectively. This can lead to renewed feelings of love and tenderness, and a deepened, compassionate commitment.
Knowledge of A.S.D. and how it affects relationships is critical to having a satisfying partnership. Not only does the “neurotypical” or “NT” need to learn how his/her partner ticks, the one affected by A.S.D. needs to learn what expectations an NTl brings to the relationship. Couple counseling with a mental health professional who understands the autism spectrum, as well as the intricacies of intimate relationships, can help you have a more satisfying relationship, with a deeper understanding of your partner.
Couples will generally come together for counseling, and have some individual sessions, as well. In the case of individual counseling, it will be specifically for the purpose of helping the relationship, especially as regards the A.S.D/Autism Spectrum. It can be appropriate for an individual to continue with their “regular” therapist to work on deep work such as Family of Origin work and/or trauma.
Partners of those on the spectrum often want to meet and get help from a therapist who understands autism, and has worked with partners of “Aspies” for 15+ years. It can be very unsatisfying for them to try to get help from their friends and confidants if they are not familiar with autism and don’t really understand what’s going on for the couple. When both members understand that the other is doing the best they can, and that the problem is that their brains work differently in some ways, they can begin to love each other again and find their way to a better relationship.