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Kathy Marshack News

Why Psychotherapy Doesn’t Help Your Aspie…

Monday, October 15, 2018


People with Asperger’s aren’t wired for the relationship format used by most psychotherapists. Are you at your wit’s end? You desperately want to hold your family together so you’re willing to go to a stranger and bare your soul…but your Aspie isn’t helping at all. It’s a fight to get him to go. (Note: It’s not only men that have Aspergers. Women have Asperger’s too.) And when he gets there, he drag his heals, slumps in the chair and refuses to engage with the psychotherapist. Does he think he’s too smart for therapy; that he doesn’t need it; that there’s nothing wrong with him; that you’re the one with the problem? If you can relate to this, please be assured, you’re not alone. And you don’t have to give up!

If you’ve had less than positive experiences with finding a therapist for your Aspie, don’t lose heart. Typical therapy doesn’t work with Aspies, so you need to find a psychologist who specializes in understanding the Asperger’s thought process.

Why is psychotherapy unlikely to work for your Aspie?

People with Asperger’s aren’t wired for the relationship format used by most psychotherapists. Therapists are trained to build on empathic rapport with clients. You need social awareness for that to work, which is something your Aspie doesn’t have. Expecting an Aspie to have empathy into your internal experience or insight into their own is not realistic.

However, what does seem to work is to appeal to their narcissism. Yes, I mean it. Aspies have the same feelings as the rest of us. They feel sad and angry and depressed too. The ticket is to appeal to a plan that promises to make them feel better, if they just follow the rules.

For this reason I recommend a coaching model rather than psychotherapy. In fact I offer this model on line in my video sessions with Aspies around the world. It works because they need tools. They aren’t motivated by making you feel better. Their main concern is feeling better themselves. Of course they want you to feel better too, but it isn't first on their minds. They fully believe if they feel better, you will feel better about them.

Narcissism --- get it?

If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, please join us for this month’s free, international teleconference, entitled: “What can I do when psychotherapy doesn’t work?” It will be held on Thursday, October 25th. We’ll be discussing

If you prefer 1:1 counseling, and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. Online therapy may also be available, depending on where you live.

Learn more about Empathy Dysfunction: If you haven’t grabbed your copy of my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS,” I invite you to do so. It’s packed with real-life examples of empathy dysfunction and how you can strengthen your own empathy “muscle” to withstand the callousness in the world today.



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