A full range of counselling and psychotherapy services can be provided to verbal* individuals with autism spectrum conditions, whether these have been formally diagnosed or not. If a person has been diagnosed, then depending on the year of diagnosis, this includes Asperger’s, high-functioning autism (HFASD), and high-functioning pervasive developmental disorders (HFPDD). My approach is strengths-based in that, as many experts in the field recognize, the traits of neurodiversity can be considered as a spectrum representing different types of intelligence. The neurodiversity paradigm does away with pathologizing terminology, preferring instead to refer to autism spectrum “conditions” (as opposed to “disorder”). From this perspective, my approach in dealing with any therapeutic issue with individuals is to use their inherent strengths, such as a particular type of logic or a creative arts expression, to assist them in dealing with depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship difficulties, or any other issue of concern. My interest in helping neurodiverse individuals is not so much to attempt to replicate neurotypical traits in them, which is clinically inadvisable because it can lead to deepening self-esteem issues, exacerbating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Rather, it is to assist such individuals in functioning in a neurotypical environment while emphasizing their neurodiverse strengths and as much as possible, advocating for a greater understanding of neurodiversity within their environment (school, work, family, and so on).
Individual sessions typically last 45-50 minutes. The number of sessions varies according to the treatment plan, which is discussed with the client. There is no obligation to attend a minimum number of sessions. My regular rate is $175/session for individual, couple, or family therapy, which is reimbursable by most insurance programs. It is possible to qualify for a reduction depending on income and number of dependants. To see if you qualify for a reduction, please contact Laure-Marie.
*Referrals can be made for speech and language development for non-verbal individuals.
COUPLE AND FAMILY THERAPY SERVICES
Couple and family relationships can be very challenging for neurotypical people, but when it comes to neurodiversity, the challenges increase considerably. Using therapeutic strategies which are specifically adapted for neurodiverse relationships, whether one or more members of the couple or family are neurodivergent, I seek to help increase understanding, enhance communication, and develop more satisfactory connection and interaction patterns. My methodology differs according to the couple or family, but overall I use adapted cognitive-behavioural and creative arts interventions such as drawing and story-telling, couple or family sculpting, or social fluency exercises.
Couple and family sessions typically last 45-50 minutes. The number of sessions varies according to the treatment plan, which is discussed with the clients. There is no obligation to attend a minimum number of sessions.
My regular rate is $175/session for individual, couple, or family therapy, which is reimbursable by most insurance programs. It is possible to qualify for a reduction depending on income and number of dependants. To see if you qualify for a reduction, please contact Laure-Marie.
SUPPORT GROUPS FOR THE NEURODIVERSE AND THOSE WHO LOVE THEM
Support groups for the neurodiverse (or those who suspect they may be) can be helpful in reducing a sense of isolation and fostering acceptance and reciprocal interaction beyond the individual therapeutic relationship. Also, topics of interest such as becoming more autonomous or developing self-esteem become a platform for education within a structured setting which is accepting of different types of intelligence. The highly structured and predictable format of neurodiversity support groups consists of psycho-education on a series of topics followed by practical exercises, interspersed with facilitated discussion over a period of 90 minutes.
For those who love someone on the autism spectrum, a support group can be helpful to exchange ideas, find familiar points of reference, and express the challenges and joys of daily life. The format of support groups for those who love a neurodivergent individual consists of semi-structured discussion opportunities on a variety of topics as requested by the members, such as caregiver burnout, adapting conversation style to interact with the neurodiverse, and so on. These support groups run for 2 hours.
As of this time, we are still forming open-ended groups and you are most welcome to participate. Fees vary according to the number of participants, but range from $20 to $60 per participant per meeting.
Social fluency is what allows us to interact spontaneously with others. For neurodivergent individuals, this can be particularly challenging as the brain mechanisms of Theory of Mind (ToMM) and The Empathizing SyStem (TESS)* are affected. This means that beyond learning the mechanics of speech and language, in order to interact in a neurotypical environment, one must memorize countless social interaction possibilities. This set of skills can be developed through exercises based on social improvisation, a technique developed by Alana Barker-Shields, executive director of Improvability!
In a highly structured age-matched group setting, mid-to-late teens, young and older adults sequentially develop skills in reciprocal social interaction through carefully designed dramatic arts interventions. Social fluency groups run for 2 hours over a course of 6 to 8 sessions.
As of this time, we are receiving applications to form social fluency groups. Fees vary according to the number of participants, but range from $20 to $60 per participant per session