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What Is Neurodiversity Affirming Therapy?

neurodiversity in therapy in Colorado

As an intern therapist at Catalyss Counseling, I work with neurodivergent clients and primarily work with autistic and ADHD adults and young professionals. And for me, it’s important to both provide neurodivergent-affirming therapy and help educate peers, colleagues, and just about anyone who will listen about the neurodiversity movement. I have many close friends and loved ones who are neurodivergent and I have seen firsthand how society—as well as the therapy world—often overlooks and shames folks who aren’t neurotypical. Additionally, for individuals who identify as neurodivergent, seeking therapy can be a challenging process. Many traditional therapeutic approaches are based on a “one-size-fits-all” model that doesn't account for the unique needs and perspectives of neurodivergent individuals.

What Is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity when broken down is simply a form of human diversity. Specifically diversity and differences in the way some brains function and process information. And the term neurodiversity is meant to encourage inclusion of humans who have neurological differences. When people think of neurodivegence, many people think of autism or ADHD. But there are actually many other experiences and formal mental health diagnoses that fall under the neurodivegent umbrella. This would include Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, OCD, and more.

Neurological differences simply mean thinking differently than as “typical” or as expected by the society at large.


So for example, folks with ADHD may need more tools or support for getting started on tasks and need strategies for what’s called “task initiation.” A neurotypical person might not struggle with this or not understand someone needing support in this area. So they might encourage this person to “try making a list” or to “stop being so lazy.”

In this scenario, this ADHD-er is being held to a neurotypical standard and being encouraged to use a strategy that is simply not helpful or being shamed for being “lazy” when they have real internal challenges that might mean they need to find a different way of approaching tasks or challenges. For those who are curious, more concrete examples of neurological differences that neurodivergent individuals experience could include dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia—all invisible to the outside world and often not considered in school or work settings.

What Is the Neurodiversity Movement?

The neurodiversity movement embraces and promotes the idea that neurological differences are both a natural and valuable part of human diversity.

It challenges the traditional view that certain neurological conditions are "disorders'' or "deficits" that need to be fixed or cured. Instead, the neurodiversity movement emphasizes the importance of recognizing and accepting neurological differences of those who are autistic or have ADHD, dyslexia, or one of the other diagnoses mentioned above, as part of human variation.

The movement aims to promote respect, acceptance, and accommodation of neurodivergent individuals, and advocates for the celebration of their unique strengths and abilities.

An Overview of Neurodiversity Affirming Therapy

Neurodiversity affirming therapy recognizes and embraces the diversity of neurological differences and aims to provide a supportive and empowering environment for neurodivergent individuals who are navigating a neurotypical world.

neurodivergent individuals seeking therapy in colorado

It recognizes and celebrates the unique strengths and abilities that often accompany neurological differences. So for example, some autistic clients can bring exceptional attention to detail, strong problem-solving skills, and a unique perspective on the world. By focusing on these strengths, rather than trying to change or fix “deficits,” neurodiversity affirming therapy can help clients to build self-esteem and develop a positive self-image.

One important factor to highlight is that neurodiversity affirming therapy should also accommodate individual differences in therapy. For example, though you might have multiple autistic clients, they may present with different strengths, presenting concerns, as well as different needs for support.

Questions to Ask When Looking for a Neurodiversity-Affirming Therapist

When looking for a neurodivergent therapist here a few things to consider asking about when interviewing a new neurodiversity-affirming therapist:

  • Can you share about your experience working with neurodivergent clients?

  • What is your experience working specifically with ____________ (fill in the blank with any specific diagnoses and forms of neurodivergence you carry)?

  • What general approach to working with neurodivergent clients? Clients with ADHD, OCD, etc.?

  • What tools and modalities do you use with neurodivergent clients (i.e. psychodynamic, CBT, DBT, etc.)?

  • Are you neurodivergent?

Get Connected to A Therapist in Denver

If you are seeking neurodiversity affirming therapy in Denver, we are here to help! At Catalyss Counseling we offer neurodiversity-affirming therapy and are passionate about providing high quality and individually tailored support for all of our clients. If you’d like to take the next step to connect with a therapist on our team, schedule a free consultation with us.

How We Can Help

We provide neurodiversity-affirming therapy! Learn the ways we can help you today.

Schedule a FREE 20-minute phone consultation to learn about our individual and group therapy options and see which therapist would be the best fit!

If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation

  2. Or, you can book directly online with the therapist of your choice

  3. Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life

Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:

Author Biography

Julie Bloom is a student intern from the Regis University Masters in Counseling program. She supports neurodivergent students, young adults, and those in the LGBTQ+ community who are feeling stuck, burned out, or having relationship difficulties to find your identity so you can connect with yourself and others in a fulfilling way. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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