I am a couples coach, group leader, and educator specializing in working with neurodiverse couples or with therapists who work with one or both partners with Asperger traits or who are on the autism spectrum. No formal diagnosis is required to work with me. You and/or your partner may have "self-diagnosed" that you are in a neurodiverse relationship.
Intimate relationships can be hard, but they are especially challenging for couples who have very different perspectives, communication techniques, approaches, and skill sets than each other.
I understand the unique strengths and the challenges that each partner brings to their relationship. With coaching, I can help both partners get more of their relational needs met.
"Couples coaching is different from therapy in that we would not be focusing on any mental health issues, but rather coming up with strategies and using specialized tools to help with the situations in your daily life that you would like to improve." — Grace
What is couples relationship coaching? How is it different from couples counseling?
Most neurodiverse couples who come to me have already been to many couples therapists, and they did not feel understood or helped. Many felt blamed or shamed for their behavior or even for their feelings that the therapists did not fully understand. What each partner needed was first to be normalized and validated based on an understanding of their neurology, and second, they needed concrete tools and strategies to improve their communication and connection.
When I coach a couple, my goal is to make myself obsolete in their relationship. I listen to both partners, interpret for each one, and then teach them how to understand each other better. I share tools that I developed after working with hundreds of neurodiverse couples, and together we create strategies for each couple's unique circumstances. We practice in the session, problem-solve ahead of time for any anticipated barriers for the couple to continue the work at home, and set realistic goals for incremental improvement.
Topics that neurodiverse couples often seek help with include:
Executive Function Challenges
Lack of Emotional Reciprocity or Physical Intimacy
I OFFER A VARIETY OF SERVICES & RESOURCES FOR COUPLES AND CLINICIANS.
"Grace's calm demeanor put us both at ease. She speaks both of our languages, and helps us build connection and intimacy with communication tools and strategies."
"I want to thank you for taking the time to coach us through communication techniques. It actually brought M. and I closer together, and we were able to talk like the friends we used to be, establishing a trust that we were trying to work on things. I'm being more mindful of time spent per topic, asking specific questions, and checking in to ask if it's ok to keep talking or ok to change the subject."
"Thank you for all your great input today. I am learning so much about how to approach situations differently. As a result, I feel like A and I are experiencing more meaningful connection."
"The tools you’re giving us are extremely helpful. You find back doors to everything. I find walls. You simplify and it’s like a healing balm. We’ve made more progress with you in the short time we’ve worked with you than with any of the professionals we’ve seen before."
"I love the tangible and practical suggestions but also your coaching is so normalizing. So helpful! Such a beacon of light and hope in all this."
"Thank you for hosting the group tonight. It was comforting to talk with people who understand and relate to my situation."
What exactly is a neurodiverse couple? Why does neurology matter in couples coaching?
A couple is neurodiverse when one partner is neurotypical — processes information the way most people do — and the other partner has a different neurological process, as is the case when someone has Asperger’s or is on the autism spectrum. Neither way is better or worse, neither is positive or negative. It is the difference between the partners that creates confusion and misunderstandings and can lead partners to question each other's intentions.
Neurology cannot be separated from a person — it affects personality, strengths, talents, and challenges, as well as the way a person views the world, thinks, speaks, behaves, and feels. Life events, both happy and sad, further shape a person based on how the events are processed, experienced, and remembered. Neurology matters most intimate relationships, since it affects every conversation a couple has, how they live together, raise children together, and achieve goals together.
Change is possible for both partners.
We cannot change our neurology, but I can help couples to gain a better understanding of who they each are, who their partner is, and how their neurological differences affect their relationship. Once a couple is able to accept each other’s perspectives, they can use the tools I teach them, and the different strategies we come up with, to listen to each other with empathy and to begin to improve their communication and connection with each other.