Hi, I've recently - finally - got my Asperger diagnosis, preceded by an ADHD diagnosis. I'm in my 60s, and was misdiagnosed many years ago as bipolar, and had an even earlier label as a (gifted) child of being 'maladjusted'! I've since discovered that many autistic children were given this label, as child psychology was then in its infancy. Other than psychotic or schizophrenic, there were no diagnoses for children's mental health issues. My life has not been easy, and athough this diagnosis has been very welcome and has answered many questions, it's very hard for me to find anybody who can understand me and the difficulties I face. I've tried counselling a couple of times, but found that most professionals know nothing about autism other than basics like binary thinking and so find it hard to understand my (logical) take on everything. It would be great to hear back from anyone else who is in a similar situation, and to know that I'm not alone.
Your experience of the counselling profession is unfortunately one I've found too. I was diagnosed a year ago, and then I was shocked to discover there are very few resources out there to support a late-diagnosed adult. I've had Counsellors just focus on talking about my feelings (even the diagnostic Psychiatrist said I was very insightful and was already fully aware of my feelings. Feelings wasn't the issue, but finding more effective strategies). Another Counsellor (by her own admission) didn't know what to do with me - so just sent me to a group workshop on breathing techniques for anxiety! Yet another kept referring to my "learning disability" - even after I pulled her up on it. And, the diagnostic Physiatrist seemed to focus on the belief that getting an active love life would solve all my problems (a very turn-of-the-twentieth century idea, akin to the common belief that a woman getting married and having sexual relations with a man would cure her of her 'hysteria').
It's funny, as thus far I've never come across a medical / mental health professional with autism. Can you imagine if you attended a women's studies lecture that was presented by a man, or a racial awareness rally hosted by a caucasian person, or a trans-awareness advocate that was cis-gendered etc? At the present moment in history, we're being talked at by Neurotypicals who in my experience just have woefully little understanding as to what it's actually like to live with autism (in a neurodivergently-hostile world), whereby the focus of the 'treatment' is either to ignore us, or force us to adopt Neurotypical standards.
Hi Evan, my goodness your experiences resonate! I too had a psychiatrist who told me that I wasn't normal because I didn't want a partner. I've found that psycotherapists and psychiatrists appear to have little self-knowledge and are often mystified by my analyses of situations and people. I've been seeing an NHS therapist but, after today, not sure that it's good to continue. Apart from other things, she doesn't appear to know much psychology: I mentioned somebody I know who was diagnosed with Munchausen's, and I had to explain to her what it was and also Munchausen's by Proxy. She also appears to know little, if anything, about narcisisstic personality disorder.
But you're absolutely right, of course. How on earth can a NT comprehend the machinations of our minds? NTs are not as perceptive, sensitive, attuned, or logical enough. They could actually try a bit harder, of course, as the information is all out there, but I doubt that they can be bothered. I mentioned CBD oil to my psychiatrist and she'd never heard of it. I'd have hoped that professionals would keep up with latest treatment options, but apparently not if they work for the NHS.
Sadly, it appear to be just a job for most of them, not a vocation.
In all fairness, there is a lot of psychological and medical information out there - far too much for any one individual to memorise. So, like many 21st century professions, you do expect your psychologist / counsellor to specialise, whereby they just may not be aware of alternative treatments / diagnosis.
That said, I have to agree that a lot of it is just sadly lacking (for ND's). You hit the nail on the head saying it's just a job - as the glorious pioneer days of the psychological disciplines are long gone (whereby a Psychoanalyst for example would have to undergo years of therapy themselves first, to understand how their own psychological make-up effects the therapeutic experience, including recognising their own limitations or lack of knowledge).
Nowadays, you tend to be referred to self-styled 'Counsellors' who have attended some hippy workshop for a weekend, or have got some internet certification. They're not even familiar with the traits specific to autistics, instead seeing any deviation as something that just needs to be brought back into the norm, something to be 'fixed' not understood.
The problem stems from how they consider the Neurodivergent viewpoint - not as a legitimate alternative (a "different ability") but the vast majority of such practitioners work from the unacknowledged bias that there is something innately 'wrong' with us - ergo their entire focus is on bringing us back into the Neurotypical model as much as they can force us to.
For me, the current medical model is crying out for more practitioners who are actually autistic.
I completely empathise with your sister. Unfortunately, I've found a complete lack of suitable resources for adults - so I'm sorta floundering myself. But if I do discover anything useful, I shall of course let you know.
Evan said:The problem stems from how they consider the Neurodivergent viewpoint - not as a legitimate alternative (a "different ability") but the vast majority of such practitioners work from the unacknowledged bias that there is something innately 'wrong' with us - ergo their entire focus is on bringing us back into the Neurotypical model as much as they can force us to.
This also, of course, points to the problem that many high-functioners have in going for employment, and coming up against that application question: Do you consider yourself to have a disability? If you're like me, you prefer to think of it as 'differently-abled' and say 'no'. But then you could be laying yourself wide open to problems. Supposing you find that you need some adjustments to be made in your working environment, and then request them on the basis of autism? 'Why didn't you point this out when you applied for the job?' etc.
I've had two jobs since my diagnosis, and have pointed it out each time at interview stage. It hasn't prevented me from getting the jobs - but then both jobs were in special needs care, so I expected a more understanding reception. In other fields, though, it could prejudice a person's chances. They can guarantee you an interview, being 'disabled' - but they can still discriminate by not offering you the job anyway. Disability is essentially a social construct. The world is designed around the 'fully-abled', and the neurotypical. Even working in a congenial environment, where I can openly discuss my autism with management and colleagues, I still have struggles. I'm still expected to go in of a morning and accept that the task I was expecting to do has been changed to accommodate the needs of the centre, and the other workers there. And I still get made to feel incompetent if I'm so focused on doing a particular thing that I neglect something else going on. It's never easy.
Martian Tom said:ergo their entire focus is on bringing us back into the Neurotypical model as much as they can force us to.
Those words ring true from my experience too. Not just professionals but others have blackmailed and coerced me to try and "fix" me. I believe many people think poor behaviour by especially children can be fixed by humiliation techniques and I say that because a special needs teacher told me so.