610 – Neurodiverse Couples Counseling: Counseling Couples when One Partner is on the Autism Spectrum


Media Format: Audio Online Streaming

SKU: WC19-WK610SA Category:


As a counselor and clinician, have you considered how neurology matters in counseling couples
with different brain wiring, such as Neurodiverse (ND) couples where one spouse is on the
autism spectrum and one is not? According to Aston (2009), Thompson (2008), and Attwood
(2007, 2015), understanding what was formerly referred to as Asperger?۪s Syndrome (now
Autism Spectrum Disorder) is imperative for creating relationship strategies for Neurodiverse
couples or what may be referred to as Aspie-NT or ASD-NT relationships, where one spouse is
on the spectrum and one is neuro-typical. This workshop will discuss the differences in
diagnosis from the DSM-IVTR to the DSM-5 as they relate to identifying ASD and examine
important differences in diagnosis from AS/ASD to other personality and mood disorders that
are often misdiagnosed. Aston, Thompson, and Attwood have discussed that it is crucial for
counselors and clinicians to understand AS/ASD as most marriage-relational strategies thus far
are developed under the assumption of similar brain wirings. This workshop will look at brain
wiring differences from research of Rubin (2016), Wallis (2006), Buxbaum and Hof (2013),
Wassink (2007), and Herbert (2005) to discuss the brains of those on the autism spectrum and
how these differences affect what Thompson (2008) calls the impairment triad of
communication deficits, poor socialization, and difficulty with imaginative thinking and conflict
resolution, as well as how this relates to relational problem solving. While there is no one
evidence-based best practice, as AS/ASD manifests differently from individual to individual, and
epigenetics and family of origin play a role in the amount of strengths and deficits the person
on the spectrum may have, this workshop will review strategies Stephanie Holmes has
developed in her research in working with??ND couples, training, and certification as a
Neurodiverse Certified marriage counselor.

Presented by: Stephanie Holmes, M.A.

Learning Objectives
Participants will:

  1. Explore the differences in brain wiring and fundamental differences in the autism spectrum brain
  2. Discuss a new field of Neurodiverse Couple’s Therapy and what counselors need to know about counseling mixed brain types
  3. Identify differences in typical marriage therapy and neurodiverse couple’s therapy