Neurodivergent Counselling – Neurodiversity is a term that many people with a variety of conditions and diagnoses use to identify themselves from a strengths-based frame of reference, rather than focusing on their perceived struggles or challenges. The term was coined as a way to describe how individuals in this community are not “wrong” or inherently disabled, but rather view and interact with the world in a way that is unique and slightly different from the way that “neurotypical” people do. The neurodivergent community is large and often forms a core part of its members’ identity, providing community and a sense of belonging to individuals. However, those who identify as neurodiverse are also at a much higher risk for struggling with mental health conditions. Horizon Plymouth is experienced in helping our clients navigate the individual challenges that come from being neurodivergent, as well as empowering them to create an environment for themselves in which they can exist as their most authentic selves.
The range of people that identify as part of the neurodivergent community is large and has no clearly defined limitations. Some of the common diagnoses that frequently identify as neurodivergent include:
- Autism: The term neurodivergent was originally coined to describe those with autism as a way to remove the social stigma that can be associated with the diagnosis. These individuals are often sensitive to sensory input and have difficulty with communication.
- ADHD: ADHD is also a diagnosis that may cause individuals to be especially sensitive to sensory input, as well as affecting their ability to concentrate and attend to tasks for long period of time.
- Dyslexia: Dyslexia is commonly known as a difficulty with the interpretation of written words, but it can also impact an individual’s ability to sequence motor movements, remember written words, and communicate effectively.
- Tourette’s: This is a neurological condition that causes repetitive, uncontrollable motor movements or vocalizations that vary greatly between individuals in severity and number.
- Sensory processing disorder: SPD describes a difference in the intake and perception of sensory information throughout an individual’s environment. This diagnosis is part of a large umbrella of sensory differences and can often co-occur with other diagnoses.
- Intellectual disabilities: Similar to SPD, intellectual disabilities describe a wide variety of conditions that affect the way a person perceives and interacts with their environment.
Counselling for neurodiversity
Although being neurodivergent is not inherently a mental health condition by itself, the struggles faced by those in this community puts them at a much higher risk for dealing with decreased mental health. Having to constantly find ways to adapt and interact within a predominantly neurotypical world can have a big mental toll on individuals, and it is important that you take the time to heal and pour into yourself when necessary. Some of the struggles that neurodiverse individuals face that working with a counsellor can help with include:
- Social exhaustion from “masking” neurodivergent traits
- Difficulty completing work tasks due to attention challenges
- Feelings of anxiety or depression
- Isolation and difficulty reaching out to others
- Decreased function in social or work environments due to lack of accessibility or environmental modifications.
Although these challenges may seem insurmountable, an experienced counsellor can help you to use your strengths to your advantage as you navigate mental health challenges and advocate for yourself within your world. Seeking out counselling can be a good way to support your own mental wellbeing and promote total wellness, and the counsellors at Horizon Plymouth are experts in helping individuals navigate these challenges. If you or someone you know is neurodivergent and would benefit from the support and guidance of a trained counselling professional, don’t wait. Contact Horizon Plymouth today to get started on your journey of healing.