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What is Neurodiversity?

Bridging Gaps in Understanding

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Ever Feel Like You Don’t Fit In?

We live in a neurotypical world. This means there are a lot of expectations, both spoken and unspoken, placed on us. Anyone who doesn’t fit the mold is considered “different” or “abnormal”. For the neurodivergent, these expectations can be difficult to meet. They may struggle to understand social cues and communication, find it hard to make friends, and feel overwhelmed by certain everyday situations.

What is Neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a new concept that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of human brains. It acknowledges that everyone’s brain functions differently, and it allows space for those who may not be able to conform to what society considers ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ behavior.

Neurodiversity isn’t about trying to create one-size-fits-all standards or expecting everyone to think and act the same. Instead, it’s about accepting that human brains come in all different shapes and sizes and that every individual should be respected and celebrated for who they are.

The term neurodiversity is often used in reference to autism, but many use the term to also include those with ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, and Tourette’s syndrome. Some even include being a highly sensitive person (HSP) under the umbrella of neurodivergence.

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Understanding Neurodiverse Relationships

The idea of neurodiversity can also be applied to relationships. Neurodiverse relationships are those in which one or both partners have a different way of thinking, behaving, and expressing themselves. In these relationships, it’s important for partners to understand each other’s individual needs and communication styles, as well as how they can best support one another.

The couples I work with will often tell me that communicating with their partner is like trying to speak a foreign language (and a lot of content gets lost in translation). They begin to feel like they’re walking on eggshells and are never sure they can say what’s really on their mind without their partner getting upset or angry.

It’s not unusual for a couple to walk away from a conversation and have two very different stories to tell! Sometimes even years later.

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Unlocking the Power of Neurodiversity in Relationships

The key to finding success in a neurodiverse relationship is understanding and accepting your partner’s different way of thinking, processing information, and communicating. It can be helpful to find ways to bridge the gap between you by learning more about one another’s neurological wiring and talking openly about how it affects your behavior and interactions.

Gaining an understanding of your partner (and their neurology) is vital to the success of your relationship. Neurodiversity in relationships should be celebrated, not feared. With the right support and communication, you can create a relationship that is strong and supportive of both partners, allowing each of you to bring your strengths and gifts to the table.

Awareness and Understanding Lead to Compassion and Compromise

When it comes to neurodiverse couples, the most important thing is understanding. We can all benefit from learning more about how our own brains work and what makes us unique. I often integrate the enneagram when working with couples as a means of helping them achieve greater self-awareness.

The intersection of neurology and personality can be a powerful tool for unlocking the power of neurodiversity in relationships. There is nothing more frustrating than believing someone else sees the world the way you do then suddenly finding out they don’t.

It’s like when something is so obvious, so straightforward, so simple, to you, but your partner just doesn’t get it. That’s when the real challenge of a neurodiverse relationship sets in.

Understanding and accepting each other’s neurological differences is essential for creating a healthy, supportive relationship that can weather any storm. Once both partners have a better understanding of their own neurology as well as that of their partner, they can start to show more compassion, patience, and compromise. This is what allows a relationship to thrive and reach its highest potential.

Putting an End to the ‘Who’s Right? Who’s Wrong?’ Debate

When it comes to relationships, the correct answer to the question of who’s right and who’s wrong is, “who cares?” Each partner has their own experience, their own way of interpreting information, and their own thoughts and feelings about what happened.

It’s important to recognize that this is part of the beauty of relationships (and not specific to neurodiverse ones either). There are many different ways of seeing and interpreting the world. By opening up to hearing each other’s stories, couples can begin to move away from judgment and towards understanding and appreciation.

I help the couples I work with get to the meaning behind the words- the underlying hope, need, or desire. By understanding what each partner is really trying to say, couples can begin to build a more meaningful relationship that offers support and understanding on all levels.

The aim of my work is to help couples develop a deeper appreciation and respect for one another so they can create a strong, healthy bond that will last for years to come.

Traditional Marriage Counseling Ignores Neurodiversity

Unfortunately, traditional marriage counseling often ignores the differences between neurodiverse partners. It’s important to choose a therapist or counselor who understands and is well-versed in the nuances of neurodiversity in relationships.

A skilled professional can help couples explore their unique wiring and create an environment for meaningful discussion and understanding. With the right support, couples can begin to appreciate and celebrate their individual differences, rather than trying to fit into a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

You’re not broken. Your relationship isn’t broken. The system is rigged against you. But there is hope. With the right help, you can create a strong foundation of trust and understanding that will last for years to come.

If you’re ready to develop a deeper understanding of yourself, your partner, and your relationship, schedule your free consultation today.