Relationship therapy

People who are on the autism spectrum are bright, capable human beings who are wired differently than most other people. They want what everyone wants - love, success at work, friendships, and a happy family. Of course, those in relationship with someone on the spectrum want these things too.

All human relationships involve continuous experiences of connection and disconnection and understandings and misunderstandings. Each of us are trying to connect across our unique differences and want to be valued as the people we are. The reality is that we all have different brain chemistry that influences our everyday functioning and social relationships, and ultimately our neurological differences influence the ways in which we understand our intimate relationships and ourselves in light of another.

Relationship therapy is work that involves the adult on the spectrum and another person who is in an important relationship with them. Often this is an intimate partner, family member, or friend. In this work everyone tends to grow and change. People tend to learn new interpersonal skills and ways of relating to, and understanding those they love.

How it can help

My hope is that this work will open up each individual's perspective in ways that help bring awareness to what is going on between the two of you. Each of you will work on building lifelong relationship skills such as:

  • Asking for what you need
  • Showing appreciation
  • Strategies for building more connection
  • Learning to notice body signals that indicate times when you are disregulated and unable to engage in intimacy or conflict
  • Team up to help each other be emotionally regulated
  • Getting on the same page around shared goals.

How the process works

  1. Contact me to schedule a brief phone conversation where we can talk about your situation, answer any questions you may have, and schedule an appointment if you decide to go forward.
  2. Download and fill out these forms to bring to our first meeting
  3. Plan how to get to my office in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. The address and directions are on my contact page
  4. Our first meeting. During our first meeting we will review your paperwork, find out why you are here, and discuss your goals for the relationship work. This initial session with both of you is usually 90 minutes in length. Please bring your completed forms from step 2 above.
  5. Second meetings. Often it is helpful to next meet with each person individually to get a sense of their perspective on the relationship, including its strengths and areas that need healing. I also want to get a sense of each person's family, social and cultural experiences in order to understand how they may impact issues like communication and a sense of closeness.
  6. Subsequent meetings. Meeting all together again, we're now going to work on the goals that we have established. The focus of our work will be on promoting self-awareness and awareness about the relationship. Depending on your goals you will be trying new ways of being in the relationship with each other, and learn new relationship and self-regulation skills. That process will involve relationship work in the session as well as homework experiments between sessions.