10 Things I Would Say to a Female with Asperger’s Syndrome, if I were her Therapist

10 Things I Would Say to a Female with Asperger’s Syndrome, if I were her Therapist

1. I would like to offer something to you, if that is okay. I believe, at this moment, I cannot in any way understand what it is like to be you. I do not believe I know what it is like to be anyone, and I understand you carry with you a vast collection of experiences and knowledge. With that said, I want to try to understand as much as I can about your journey and perspective, so that I can be here with you, not as your teacher, or counselor, or therapist, or even friend, but as another human having a human experience. I don’t consider myself to know the answers; in fact, I believe you to have all the answers that we require to move through this process of discovery. I look forward to this journey with you.

2. I am here for you; you are dedicating your time and your attention, and I respect your commitment to be here. I recognize you have a choice of whom you see, and that you may or may not fit with my person as a whole. Please know that if there is anything about my presentation, my office, or my mannerisms, even my personhood that make you uncomfortable, I am open to you telling me this and will try my very best to be receptive to your input. Please know that any type of discomfort you feel, at any time, and at any moment, takes top priority above any discussion. I understand there may be many thoughts on your mind and that I am by no means able to alleviate all your misgivings, and I recognize this is not possible; yet, I still say this in hopes of creating a safe place for the both of us to sit together. I try in my practice to release the need of agenda, plan of action, or a blueprint we need follow. I am by no means perfect, but stating this to you helps me to remind myself that my top priority is you not my thoughts and needs. This allows the two of us to focus on what you believe is at the heart of your thoughts at all times, and keeps me from thinking I know the answers; as truthfully I know I do not.

3. If there is something of peak interest to you at the moment, perhaps an interest or a hobby, I am here to listen. I don’t mind if you need to talk the entire time we have allotted, that is what I am here for. I am here to listen above all else, to be present, and to receive you as a whole and complete person. I don’t see myself in lacking and in return I don’t see you as lacking either. I think we are both where we are meant to be and I am truly honored to be in your presence. I am not going to write notes about you, if that is okay, as I wouldn’t think I’d much like a person writing notes about me, but instead, I would like to offer you this paper to take home to write down your thoughts after our meeting; if you do not, this is perfectly fine with me, and if you do, wonderful. Feel free to ask me questions about my journey and respecting the therapist/client boundaries, I will offer out as much vulnerability as I can. I would take joy in meeting you equally in this journey, and will strive to remind myself when I become preachy or seem to think I know more than I do. I am human, but I know, beyond a doubt, that what is important in these rooms is not within me, but within you.

4. I wonder if you might be comfortable telling me what the driving force behind you feels like? Where do you think your inspiration comes from? Why do you think you have the intelligence you do? The drive? The stamina? How often do you think about who you are and what you are? Is this inquiry something that interests you or makes you uncomfortable, or something perhaps I am totally off base about asking? I ask, because in the females with Aspergers I have encountered, there is a depth of wisdom that honestly leaves me in awe and makes me curious as to how the universe works inside the mind; and I thought through this direction we might open doors to discovery? What do you think?

5. I am comfortable with whatever subject you want to discuss. There isn’t a set topic I have in mind, nor do I feel at this time there is going to be a need for a topic. I would like to know what pops into your head, and to listen to you process your thoughts, if you are comfortable with this. I think the more I can hear you talk, the better I will be able to approach the challenges you might be presented with through the course of us working with one another. Also, this may or may not apply to you, but if you are more comfortable, I have a lovely plant set in the corner there, and I am more than pleased to watch it as you talk, if me watching you makes you uncomfortable. Also, I can respect your body language and the way you choose to communicate, because I know this is what works for you at the moment. So please know I am not evaluating your body language, tone of voice, or anything about the quality of your speech or subject manner. I understand in my working with other females with similar, but of course their own unique way of perceiving the world, that sometimes they might need a full hour just to speak and process. In the past I have scheduled hour-and-a-half blocks of time, suggesting that the client speak for half of the session, to process her thoughts, and then we meet together and have more of a back and forth discussion. What are your thoughts on this? What would work with you?

6. I believe that there is a serious need for more information about females with Aspergers. What type of information have you found? Is there something specific you think I might be able to gain knowledge from, a book or resource? If you are comfortable, I would appreciate any information you have collected that resonated for you in regards to how you feel; this might be about females with Aspergers, poetry, paintings, or any form of expression. I would especially like to hear if there is anything you wrote, perhaps a poem or a short story. I think I can gain much insight in our journey together, if I am able to see the two of us, symbolically, exploring outside of the constraints of this office, and in the realm of something you may of have created, or perhaps will create in the future. If not, would you like to tell me what you see when I show you particular paintings or what you feel when I read a poem? I have collected some items from other females with Aspergers, a variety of expressions through different art media that I store here at my side. Sometimes, with clients, we look in the basket to see if there is something that resonates?

7. In working with other females, those that have traits of Aspergers, whether diagnosed or not, I have come across a checklist of attributes that typically fits the Aspergers experience well. I would appreciate being granted the opportunity to read this to you, to see what you think? Or you are welcome to read the list yourself, either aloud to me, or to yourself. I think there might be some connecting links here we can explore together. If you would like, we can develop a list of priorities, or address perhaps five items that caught your attention. For instance the concept of the anxiety that builds in planning for an upcoming event outside the house. Then we can decide together where to go from there.

8. I am well aware that sometimes certain techniques I have implemented in my psychotherapy practice aren’t universal, in meaning they don’t fit with everyone. I recognize that we are each unique in our experiences and learning modalities. I have done research on various learning styles, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and sensory integration challenges. I would like you to know that I am aware some of my approaches might not be the right “fit” for you. Such as in the past I implemented positive self-talk to a lovely client, and she explained to me that the form of therapy I was using, called “cognitive therapy,” was adding unnecessary stress to the stress she already carried. I am so thankful she told me, because from there we worked together and developed a new approach. With this client we looked at her favorite books and created stories about the characters in the book; this type of approach resonated with here. With another client, she explained that she had been through years of self-help and group therapy and only initially needed a safe place to be. And so we spent many of our sessions with me listening and her sharing. Another client loved Carl Jung and the thought of the collective unconscious, so we took that route together. Please know this is your time and I want to spend the time doing what fits your style, not mine. I think, if we both explore the vast range of possibilities, we can easily find an avenue that suits your comfort-level and learning style. Also, as a reminder, nothing we establish is necessary, or set in stone, or needs to meet completion; we can change midstream; in fact, I like to do that, as it reminds me that I am not the one in control, nor do I need to be. This frees up space for me to be more present and attentive to your needs.

9. Are there any specific spiritual practices you gravitate towards? Or any types of methods of relaxation you incorporate. I found with one client that even the thought of implementing a practice was daunting and actually sparked an avoidance of doing such practices. How do you feel about goals and lists? Have you ever partaken in specific grounding exercises, self-centering, or body awareness visualizations, and is this something you might be open to exploring together? For my own self, I find that when I am in my body and aware, I can better detect where the anxiety is coming from in my environment. I can then talk to this anxiety, and other emotions I have, as if it were a person. Do you understand what I mean? Do you ever personify numbers, or letters, or parts of your body?

10. I know of someone who says she thinks people with Aspergers are: “Keepers of the Light.” I like this definition, as I see such pure traits in women I have met on the spectrum or believe themselves to be on the spectrum; there is a source of pureness, innocence and this honesty that just bears all thorns. I cannot tell you how much I long to experience some of the truths you carry and to understand what this journey of yours has brought to those around you. I see you as such a gift to me and to the world. What would you like to call Aspergers? What name shall we give this journey?

All rights reserved. May be printed for professional use in therapy setting. May not be redistrubuted or used in any other manner. Thank you. Please maintain author information on the paper. Author of the blog Everyday Aspergers. Samantha Craft, M.Ed. Writer and Educator. Female with Aspergers with son with Aspergers.

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55 thoughts on “10 Things I Would Say to a Female with Asperger’s Syndrome, if I were her Therapist

  1. I like this, Sam!!!! great article for your mag … will you be my therapist???? lolollll … {{{{hugs}}}} ❤ i'm sharing it on my wall, if you don't mind 🙂

    1. yes; gladly. Rest, nap, walk, eat chocolate, find friends you feel safe with, read spiritual based books, create in some form as often as you can.. ❤ hehe Keep shining special you!

  2. This is an excellent guide for a therapist to use. It would work for me if my therapist used this approach..I may just have to suggest some of these ideas to her, if she is open minded, I think she would like it if I had a better guide by which to nudge my sessons. I need a guide, I have problems with free speaking off the cuff, I hate that..I feel like I’ve wasted my hour.

  3. Oh how I wish all the educators and therapists read this ..and understand this is how you approach an aspergian, first you win their love trust and confidence then tell them how ..
    wow wow wow Sam a great write up..

    1. Hello Lovely you. I am collecting your energetic wows as we speak. Yummy they are. Thanks sweet you; as we should approach everyone I think.. ❤ hugs to the special lady with the special daughter with the special heart

  4. Thanks for this article. I have an appt with a therapist in two weeks to undergo assessment since I am pretty certain I have Asperger’s. I enjoy reading all the articles on your site.

  5. Ms. Craft, you are amazing! Your blog is my favorite. Always informative and thought-provoking. I hope your enlightened words are reaching the masses. Keep up the great work. ❤

  6. Something is telling me to say sorry for my comment… I didnt mean to exclude those of us that do not have two hands or even one. I hope my comment was understood for what it was intended and that was to say “great post”

  7. You’re the perfect therapist, Sam, because you see everything as it is, from the ‘inside’. You are therapy itself, simply by being what you are.

  8. I will forever call myself a “Keeper of the Light.” 😀 My therapist is eager to learn more and I think she really likes me and is interested in how I “tick.” I initially saw her for marriage and parenting stresses and when I told her I thought some of the problems might be driven by AS, she gave me a puzzled look and was immediately dismissive of any idea of me having it. She was more receptive of the idea of my husband having it because he is more obviously eccentric. But I am slowly getting her to come around to the idea. She just didn’t know much about it, especially in women. She is a really great therapist, though, so I think it will add a dimension to her work that is much needed! I will share this with her, Sam. 🙂

  9. I do not think that is autism specific. If a therapist is not considering these things with CLIENTS, there is a problem. It is all individual, for example, I like the notes my therapist writes because I get a copy and I can check to make sure I have been understood.

  10. I just found out that I was misdiagnosed in 2006. I was said to have Borderline Personality. But oh my gosh: I have Aspergers. I don’t even know if I’ve been spelling it right, I’m so new to finding out. After talking to my therapist, I listed the signs of it on my Facebook. My friends thought I was attempting to describe myself: not the signs of Aspergers.

  11. You’re awesome! Bless you, and I wish you were in my area… but just seeing these things said lifted my spirits. THANK YOU!

  12. I am a psychologist that specialises in ASD, and these tips will enrich the way I approach females. Thank you for taking the time to share what your heart truly needs. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to improve the way I help these amazing women.

  13. Hi, I have aspergers, and I am a Marital and Family Therapist in Missouri, US.I love that you put out the idea of clients entering the therapy relationship with a set of standards. They absolutely have the right to be their own advocate and assert what they want from therapy. If their therapist doesn’t ask, I would say it’s time to find a new therapist. It should always be about the clients needs/agenda. Part of the intake process is always to let them know that they set the agenda, and they are in charge of what we talk about or pursue through therapy. They are the driving force behind the treatment plan and are integral in identifying what they would like to be different in their life, and what the goals should be.
    Also, I do very specifically discuss in the first intake session, that sometimes therapy will make people uncomfortable and that when it does, that many times signals that we are on to something important. Of course, the client still determines the pace of therapy and should never be pushed because the therapist thinks things should be going faster.

    A couple of things you listed are, unfortunately, very difficult due to our *lovely* managed care system. As of 2013, it is very difficult to get sessions that can be more than 45 minutes. Many HMOs or PPOs will deny the charge if you ran over time without prior approval. I’m not sure how we are supposed to predict that we may need more time for some sessions, but managed care doesn’t really seem to, er..care.
    Also, it is necessary to write things down about every session. Legally and ethically documentation of each session and client contact (like a phone call) must be documented whether it is billed for or not. It doesn’t mean that EVERTHING is written down, but the core structure of a therapy note has to include: current symptoms, intervention used this session, response of the client, purpose of the session, pertinence of the session to the client’s goals, and plans for the next session. And, if every note doesn’t seem to connect to the original treatment plan, they can deny all of the service charges for that client. It’s not that any of us are in it for the money, trust me- there are much easier ways to make a lot more money. But, it we want to be able to keep practicing, we have to adhere to the managed care agenda. It is a challenge everyday for me, being on the spectrum, to deal with the frustration and resentment I feel when managed care gets in the way of providing care to my clients.
    Thank you again for bringing attention to the very specific needs of Aspie Women in therapy. One of the comments mentioned that they had been misdiagnosed with Borderline PD. I have always suspected that most Borderline diagnosed women are likely on the spectrum. I am trying to research that now and hope to learn more about that overlap, because to be thought of as Borderline can be devastating and stigmatizing. Best to you and all of your readers. ❤

    1. wonderful knowledge. 🙂 thank you. In many states you can counsel without having to be a ‘therapist,’ such as a spiritual counselor. This would side-track a lot of rules and regulations, and health insurance, time, etc. Though I understand many therapists have restrictions like doctors. You sound marvelous. :))))

  14. Great post, Sam, as always. I wish all therapists have your deep insight. Also, I agree with Rachal’s thoughts above, regarding Borderline Personality Disorder. I have said for a very long time, after extensively researching both Asperger’s and BPD, that the 2 conditions overlap and might actually be different expressions of the same thing (along with what are described as “highly sensitive people”).

  15. I am so glad I found your blog, Sam. Your posts are so comforting. I don’t feel so alone. And I don’t need to worry if I’ve made this comment the right way with the right words, because I know you get me.

  16. I am interested in the comment above [by Karen Myers] – my psych had no experience with Asperger’s, and suggested that instead I was ‘highly sensitive’. My reaction? ‘Of course I am – it’s part of my Asperger life/gamut of experience’. Part of the hassle of living in a smaller city, there are just not as many therapists available, and if one starts to look at having specific requirements, then it can be impossible to find someone who can really take the time to learn for OR with you. Thank YOU, Sam, for expressing what we’d like to have – I’d love to be able to show this to the psych (if/when/whatever I go back). 🙂

  17. I like your approach. You should totally be my therapist…although I probably don’t live near you. Also, you said you were interested in learning more about Aspergers. I have written articles about my experiences with Aspergers, if you’re interested, which you can find here: https://untamesaluki.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/experiences-of-an-autistic-blogger-myths-about-autism-and-why-theyre-bs/ and here: https://untamesaluki.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/experiences-of-an-aspie-blogger-4-reasons-why-being-an-aspie-child-sucks-and-why-it-gets-better-in-adulthood/ and here: https://thezoophanatic.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/regarding-autistic-meltdowns-what-they-are-how-to-deal-with-them-and-why-a-child-having-a-meltdown-is-not-a-naughty-brat/

  18. Wow..just..wow..I am 35 years old..I discovered I have Asperger’s about 18 months ago..I am still researching and becoming amazed that what I thought was normal……just isn’t..apparently other people don’t think in loops and get “stuck” if things don’t go according to plan..I honestly thought I was normal..I had 12 years of psychological treatment..my parents were concerned…I was “gifted”..LOL if they only knew how so! If I had visited even one psychologist who suggested ANYTHING you just described..I might have known what was going on much sooner. Darn..I wish you were my therapist..

  19. Fantastic article!!!! I really appreciate your outlook on many factors of counselling! I would say this doesn’t just go for females though…..and I am open to ideas as to how to go about getting myself assessed accurately …..I really hate it when a phsycaitrist wants to just slap someone with meds without regards to assessment first, which is what has happened to me…..and when I refused meds, he refused to listen , assess or continue to treat me….suggestions?

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