The Learning Catalog

Fundamentals of Working with Neurodiverse Couples in Therapy

Online Courses

Description

Learn how to recognize, understand, and treat neurodiverse couples by viewing couples through a neurological lens to understand the impact that the couple’s neurological differences have on their relationship.  A neurodiverse couple is a couple in which one or both partners has an Asperger or autism profile. 

The course includes listening to expert lectures, intimate interviews with neurodiverse couples, and insights from a panel of therapists who work with neurodiverse couples. Downloadable PDFs of tools, tips, and additional resources are yours to keep.  

This is a 10 hour self-paced online course that you can access from anywhere, from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Developed by BUSSW Network Trainer, Grace Myhill, MSW.  More about this instructor.

Objectives

  • Understand why Neurology Really Matters in Couples Therapy
  • Recognize Neurodiversity in a Couple
  • Understand Asperger’s & Autism and Its Impact on a Couple
  • Understand Asperger/Autism and Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions
  • Describe the Impact of Neurodiversity
  • Explain How a Diagnosis Can Help Neurodiverse Couples
  • Understand Treatment for Neurological Differences
  • Gain Skill-Building Tools for Neurodiverse Couples to Enhance Communication & Emotional Connection
  • Learn how to Address Intimacy and Sexuality in Neurodiverse Relationships

For more information, visit AANE 

Course Outline

Neurology Really Matters in Couples Therapy

  1. Explain why neurology matters when treating couples in therapy. 
  2. List at least 3 reasons why Asperger’s can be difficult to recognize in neurodiverse couples. 
  3. Describe the Myhill/Jekel Model for Working with Neurodiverse Couples in Therapy. 

Recognizing Neurodiversity in a Couple

  1. Explain why it is important to recognize neurodiversity in a couple. 
  2. List at least 3 common Asperger traits in a partner with an Asperger profile. 
  3. Describe at least 3 common feelings of a neurotypical partner. 

Overview of Asperger’s & Autism and Its Impact on a Couple

  1. Describe at least 4 Asperger/Autism Traits. 
  2. List at least 3 strengths of Asperger/Autism. 
  3. Explain the impact of at least 3 Asperger/Autism traits on a couple.

Asperger/Autism and Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions

  1. List at least 3 common co-occuring mental health conditions. 
  2. Explain the difference between Asperger/Autism and at least 2 diagnoses from the DSM 5. 

Understanding the Impact of Neurodiversity 

  1. Explain why it is important to reframe a couple as neurodiverse when working with them in couples therapy. 
  2. List at least 3 ways you would adjust your treatment approach when you are treating a neurodiverse couple. 
  3. Describe how to act as an interpreter for both partners in a neurodiverse couple. 

How a Diagnosis Can Help Neurodiverse Couples

  1. Describe how understanding the autism spectrum can help a relationship. 
  2. Explain how understanding the autism spectrum can help a therapist. 

Treating for Neurological Differences

  1. Explain why it’s important to set up a supportive environment. 
  2. Describe a tool to help couples with perspective taking. 
  3. Explain what it means to skill-build and problem-solve through an Asperger lens to resolve issues. 

 Skill-Building Tools for Neurodiverse Couples to Enhance Communication & Emotional Connection

  1. Describe three skill-building tools for helping neurodiverse couples enhance communication skills and build emotional connection.
  2. Explain how using skill-building tools address Asperger traits, and help neurodiverse couples communicate and understand each other. 

Addressing Intimacy and Sexuality in Neurodiverse Relationships

  1. Explore the importance of intimacy and sexuality in neurodiverse relationships. 
  2. Identify this as an area of focus in couples therapy. 
  3. Assess how this plays a role in a couple’s relationship. 
  4. Create solutions to improve connectedness and intimacy. 

Case Study: Practice Exercise and Online Discussion 

  1. Explain how Asperger traits impacted the partner with an Asperger profile, the neurotypical partner, and their relationship.
  2. Describe the experiences of the neurotypical partner, and how they aresimilar toother neurotypical spouses.      
  3. Explain why a structured conversation using skill-building tools is helpful for neurodiverse couples.
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