PRESENTATION: The Association of Neurodivergent Therapists: Standing up for Neurodivergent Therapists, Trainees and Clients in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
When a neurodivergent therapist enters training, or when a therapist finds out that they are neurodivergent, they often face a dilemma: Should I be open about my neurodivergence in my professional life?
Fear of discrimination, oppression and professional isolation often keep neurodivergent therapists unable to openly request access needs in the workplace; connect with neurodivergent colleagues; or be visible to neurodivergent clients seeking ND therapists.
The Association of Neurodivergent Therapists (ANDT) has grown out of an increasingly urgent need for organisation and community for neurodivergent people in our profession. Our visible presence in counselling and psychotherapy is designed to combat stigma; our meet-ups foster community and support; our directory helps neurodivergent clients to find the therapist they are looking for. We are an organisation with its basis in social justice principles, and support neurodivergent therapists at the intersection with all marginalised identities.
In this presentation, four members of the ANDT steering committee: Lesley Dougan, Simcha Burton, Stasa Morgan-Appel and Erin Stevens will provide an insight into what we do at ANDT, what we hope to achieve, and our thoughts about the future of the neurodiversity movement in counselling and psychotherapy. Our panel discussion will be followed by a 10 minute Q&A in which we will be taking questions from National Counsellors’ Day attendees.
Lesley Dougan (she/her): Lesley has Neurofibromatosis and is neurodivergent. Lesley offers therapy and supervision through an intersectional lens. She is programme lead on the MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice as Liverpool John Moores University and is a member of the ANDT steering committee.
Simcha Burton (they/them): Simcha Burton is an integrative psychotherapist with an overarching framework of feminist counselling theory, with an MA in Counselling Psychology, specialising in Social Justice and Community Counseling from Delaware Valley University. Simcha is a member of the ANDT steering committee
Stasa Morgan-Appel (she/they): Stasa is a counsellor/psychotherapist offering pluralistic therapy from an intersectional feminist perspective. She is multiply neurodivergent and is a member of the ANDT steering committee.
Erin Stevens (she/her/they): Erin is a co-founder of ANDT and is autistic with a sprinkling of ADHD for good measure. Erin is a therapist specialising in working with clients who have experienced harmful previous therapy and is interested in the large overlap between harmful experiences of therapy and neurodivergence.