Why autistics need access to openly autistic therapists
Meeting a new client usually goes like this. Autistic person comes into therapy after trying out numerous neurotypical psychiatrists or therapists with no luck. Since my bio makes it abundantly clear that I am autistic, this person decides to give it a go.
Our first meeting:
Autistic person: Here is a huge amount of information I have gathered from being hyper focused on learning about everything related to autism. My guard is up because of how I have been mistreated by neurotypical professionals in the past.
Autistic therapist (me): Hi!! I have also done an autistic amount of research on this topic and I understand everything you are saying. I believe you and your experience is valid.
Autistic person’s guard comes down and they open up about what brings them to therapy.
Autistic therapist (me) responds compassionately to the autistic person and actively works on building a sense of safety and trust within the therapeutic relationship.
The end 😊
No matter if a person is late diagnosed or early, autistic people deeply need to be understood. And for many of us, neurotypical people simply haven’t had the capacity to do so. I notice a change in my client’s body language after their pattern recognition abilities categorize me in the fellow autistic category. They look a little more relaxed and open.
The #1 question I get on social media is how to find an autistic therapist in ____ state. It makes sense. Having a neurotypical therapist is kind of like having an AMAB gynecologist. Sure, they can get a vast amount of training and be competent in their work but if I had a choice… I’d choose an AFAB gynecologist. I mean, to be honest, I’d choose an autistic AFAB gynecologist if I really had a choice!
I am not trying to throw shade on neurotypical therapists who work with autistics. We need you. But we also really need more openly autistic therapists. Due to the double empathy problem between allistic and autistic folx, it makes sense that some of us would prefer to interact with other autistics while getting a pelvic exam or in therapy.
Places to find autistic therapists: