WHAT IS NEURODIVERGENCE?
Neurodivegence is about having a brain that works differently to the way most other peoples' (neurotypicals) brains work. Not worse, not better, just differently. Some commonly recognised forms of neurodivergence are ADHD, ADD, Aspergers, Autism and Dyslexia.
One of the biggest difficulties faced by the neurodivergent is that their difference is invisible. They may look, sound and be every bit as intelligent as everyone around them, but they are unable to do a number of things that the neurotypical community takes for granted. What makes it worse is that from primary school onwards, society judges its members' worth on their ability to do those particular things. So from the outside, the apparently intelligent kid who isn't getting his homework done may just appear lazy. He'll be told he isn't applying himself. But from the inside, that same kid knows he's trying as hard as he can and he just can't manage. How does he make sense of that? How does he cope with the shame of not being able to do what everyone else can do? Try harder? Act out? Pretend he doesn't care? Look for other ways of getting recognition?
Today, educators and mental health practitioners are getting better at recognising neurodivergence in our children, but for anyone born more than thirty years ago, the chances are the labels they were given (and the labels they gave themselves) when they first started trying to deal with their invisible difference will probably have stuck: Lazy, difficult, uncooperative, inattentive, thick. So too will the coping strategies they devised to avoid feeling bad about themselves.
As a neurodivergent-affirmative therapist, my approach is to offer the neurodivergent a new way of seeing and valuing themselves, in order to help them navigate their way through a neurotypical world on their own terms. I offer individual and group therapy, online and in person.
NEURODIVERGENT ADULT'S THERAPY GROUP
What is Group Therapy?
Human beings live in groups, from our birth family, through school, into work, friends and eventually, perhaps, a family of our own. Who we are and how we feel depends almost entirely on our relationships within those groups. And yet we're also individuals, living in our own private worlds. What we think and what we feel is very often hidden to those around us - as their thoughts and feelings are hidden to us.
We're never really taught how to be part of a group, it's something we work out for ourselves as children and, pretty much out of our awareness, it's how we continue to behave even as adults.
Group therapy is like a social laboratory: it's a place we can road-test our behaviour and reality-check our beliefs and feelings; get to see what isn't working for us and, in a safe, controlled environment, try out new ways of being. But instead of having to do it alone, you're doing it with the full support of a group of people who want exactly the same thing. It can be scary, especially for men who've grown up knowing that asking for help is a weakness, but it can also be extremely effective and, ultimately, tremendously rewarding.
Who is this group for?
It is for adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, or ASD, who suspect or have been told they might have it, or who have traits associated with what is commonly called an Attention Deficit Disorder.
What’s it for?
It will be a place to share your experiences, get support from, and offer your support to, a group of people who really understand what it’s like to be invisibly different in a rigidly normal world.
How many people will be in it?
There will be a maximum of six participants plus the therapist.
When does it meet?
Every Thursday evening from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
How long will it last?
Each group lasts for twelve weeks. Groups are run continuously throughout the year so people wishing to continue can sign up to the following group.
What does it cost?
The cost of the group is £40 per two hour session or £480 for the full twelve weeks. Payment must be made in advance, either in full or in two payments of £240.
In signing up, what do you commit to?
To attend the group, on time, for a minimum of six sessions. This is to ensure that you, and your fellow members, really do have the chance to get the most out of the process.