The Neurodiverse Couple

Education, insight, and guidance for neurodiverse couples in which one partner is or may be autistic | TheNeurodiverseCouple.com | Sarah Swenson LMHC | Swenson Coaching LLC

Welcome!

Is your partner autistic? Or do you think autism is a possibility? If so, you are trying to navigate a challenging relationship and there aren't many resources available to you. Your friends may not understand. Your family probably doesn't, either. Maybe you've even stopped trying to explain what you're experiencing in your relationship - the confusion, the loneliness, the frustration with a partner you love. And maybe you've even stopped trying to understand it yourself. I designed these courses with you in mind.

Why you're here . . .

You want to understand your relationship. You're not here to criticize. You love your partner.

In these courses, we're not going to demonize autistic partners. We're not going to view you as a victim, either.

Instead, we're going to explore why your reactions and responses make sense. You'll discover that you're not crazy, or mean, or selfish.

And this course is designed to help you understand your partner a little better. It's not easy being autistic in a neurotypical world.

I'm here to help you sort out the confusion; to show you that  developing understanding and compassion toward your partner will lead to compassion for yourself; and to help you chart a path toward healing that may not seem possible to you at the moment. 

I am creating these courses after many years of working as a therapist with individuala who, like you, are struggling to make sense of their relationships and want to figure out how to move forward.

My goal is to provide you with information based on sound clinical practice and experience including effective strategies so you can implement what you learn.

In most neurodiverse couples with whom I work, the man is autistic and the woman is not. It is important to remember that I also work with couples in which the man is neurotypical and the woman is autistic, and with gay and lesbian couples who are neurodiverse. The material in the courses will be relevant for all neurodiverse couples.

The Neurodiverse Couple

These courses present a comprehensive approach to the neurodiverse relationship, with a focus on the needs and experience of both partners. Topics include the following:

  • An exploration of neurodiversity: What is autism? What does it mean to be neurotypical?

  • Your unique experience: Why is your relationship so challenging? Why are you so lonely? Why is it so difficult to explain to friends and family?

  • Effective communication strategies to enhance your relationship

  • Guidance regarding choices you have for creating a sound and healthy future

Course 1 - Sorting It All Out: The Neurotypical and Autistic Worlds

We explore the subject of autism and also look at what it means to be neurotypical. You will see the differences in how you each view reality and experience the world, and begin to understand how these differences affect your relationship. Sound clinical information as well as strategies for improving communication are included. 3 hours 20 minutes. See preview on my YouTube channel, The Neurodiverse Couple. Enroll below. $250

Course 2 - The Neurodiverse Relationship: Challenges to Love and Intimacy

We discuss what I call The Tragic Dance of the Neurodiverse Couple: love, conflicting emotions, unspoken expectations, and your sex life in light of what can change and what cannot. The course runs three hours, which is equivalent to four one-on-one sessions. There is a complimentary introduction so you can determine whether this course would be helpful to you. View the Introduction on my YouTube channel, The Neurodiverse Couple. Enroll below. $250.

Maybe you feel that you need more information before proceeding because you still have a question: could my partner be autistic?

Course: Maybe My Partner Is Autistic

This course is based on a discussion of twenty significant questions about your life to help you discern whether autism may be present.

  • Covers the main areas of potential conflict in the neurodiverse relationship to see whether they may be present in yours

  • Presents an exploration of your relationship to help you articulate and understand your own unique experience

  • Designed as comprehensive guide for exploring your hunch that your partner may be autistic, not as a diagnostic tool

Course 3 - Maybe My Partner Is Autistic

This is a compassionate exploration of behaviors and attitudes that might help you discern whether to consider neurodiversity as a root cause of some of the challenges in your relationship. It is educational and not meant to be diagnostic. It is a place to start if you're unsure and would like to understand autism as a possible explanation for aspects of your relationship that confuse or hurt you. This course runs three hours and is equivalent to four one-on-one sessions. See preview on my YouTube channel, The Neurodiverse Couple. Enroll below. $250

YouTube Channel

Previews of all available courses can be viewed here

Your Instructor

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Sarah Swenson

For many years, I have had the privilege of working with neurodiverse couples as a therapist in Seattle. I created an international online coaching practice to support these couples around the world. The other focus of my practice is working with high intelligence. Because there are not many therapists or coaches specialized in this unique and complex field, I offer these classes to make sound clinically-based information and guidance available to everyone. If you're interested in learning about my coaching practice in support of neurodiverse couples, please visit TheNeurodiverseCouple.com for complete information about my practice and how to schedule an appointment.

Questions You May Have

  • How long will I have access to my course?

    Once you enroll, you will have permanent access. You may log in and out as your schedule permits and there is no limit on how much time you spend in a course.

  • What if a course is not what I expected it to be?

    Your experience in my courses is of utmost importance to me. If you're not satisfied, please let me know immediately and I will issue a refund.

  • Now that I've learned from your courses, how can I find a coach or a therapist to work with?

    You are welcome to contact me to check availability on my calendar for working together. Also, I suggest using one of the directories such as GoodTherapy.org or PsychologyToday.com. Search for someone who understands neurodiversity, both the autistic and neurotypical ways of being in the world, not only academically and clinically, but also from personal experience. I encourage you to ask a prospective therapist or coach specific questions about their experience so you can make an informed decision. Conventional therapeutic modalities designed for neurotypical couples tend to be ineffective with neurodiverse couples.

  • Is there a way to work with you individually or as a couple?

    Yes. Please see Course 10, Communication Workshop for the Neurodiverse Couple, as the format for an individualized program. A six-session approach, which is slightly different, is described on my website, TheNeurodiverseCouple.com. I suggest you take a look at the website to decide whether one of these two formats appeals to you. Either way, starting with the courses here is a good way to feel grounded in the topic of neurodiversity so that we can move quickly into your own specific concerns in our private work together. Also, in order to accommodate the many inquiries from around the world, I offer workshops in various cities in the United States and in Europe. If you are interested in attending a workshop, please let me know which cities are convenient for you and I will contact you when events are scheduled. I work in English and also speak Italian and German.

  • Are you my therapist?

    I offer these courses as education. Taking a course on this site does not create a clinical relationship between us.

  • Do you ever do in-person work with couples?

    Yes. If you are interested in a weekend intensive, please contact me. Depending on where you are, this could also involve airfare and hotel accommodations. Cities that don't require additional expenses for you are Los Angeles, Seattle, St Louis, and Venice, Italy, since these are cities where I am regularly, so it would be the regular fee for the Communication Workshop and a matter of mutually convenient scheduling.

A Few of My Published Articles

to show you how I approach various topics

Identifying the Partner of Someone who May Be Autistic: They're Usually Misdiagnosed

How to Deal with Loneliness in a Relationship when One Partner is Autistic

Married with Undiagnosed Asperger's: Why Women Who Leave Lose Twice

The Blameless Burden: Scapegoating in Dysfunctional Families

Learning to Trust Again after Gaslighting

This is When You Think You're Crazy

Is It Still Gaslighting if My Partner Has Asperger's?


I write as a Topic Expert for Autism for GoodTherapy.org where will find my therapist profile and many additional articles I have written. Remember that the term "Asperger's Syndrome" is no longer used clinically in the USA, a change that was made in 2013 after some of these articles were written. The full diagnosis for autism in the USA and Canada is now Autism Spectrum Disorder. In the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, it is Autism Spectrum Condition, a term I prefer.

New Courses Being Added Regularly

Additional courses are described briefly below and will be available as they are developed. For information about any of the courses, or about how we might work together, please send an email to

Course 4 - Communication Skills and Strategies

COMING SOON: We cover why you're so frustrated when you try to express your feelings; the verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication; the structure of argument; differences in processing times; how to break through old communication patterns and establish new ones. This course runs two hours. $250

Course 5 - Talking to Your Partner about Autism: Where Do You Start?

COMING SOON: What might you expect? What are your own expectations? What are your goals? And what if it doesn't go well? You'll understand how to create the best environment for successful conversation. This course runs two hours. $250

Course 6 - If You Have Children

COMING SOON: The challenges are unique. What do the children need from you? We talk about children at home and children who are now out on their own. Are you wondering whether your children are on the spectrum? We also discuss broken relationships with adult children. This course runs two hours. $250

Course 7 - Your Life, Love, and Sense of Self

COMING SOON: Many women in neurodiverse relationships lose their sense of personal identify over time. Guilt, shame, depression can follow, overwhelming her. What happened? We will look at the woman you used to be and discuss ways to welcome her back into your life. This course runs two hours. $250

Course 8 - Talking to Friends and Family

COMING SOON: What are the considerations for bringing things up? This is especially challenging when you've been misunderstood or misjudged in the past. We'll talk about the very personal decision regarding what to disclose, why, when, and to whom. I'll also discuss privacy, both yours and your partner's. This course runs two hours. $250

Course 9 - Looking Forward Toward Your Future

COMING SOON: Deciding where to go from here requires a frank appraisal of what you can live with and what you cannot live without. We explore these questions and consider possibilities for reformatting your relationship. A new territory requires a new map, but this doesn't always mean divorce. This course runs two hours. $250

Course 10 - Communication Workshop for the Neurodiverse Couple

This course is an personally-tailored intensive workshop format for you and your partner to take together. After our initial session, which is educational and exploratory, we explore ten areas of your relationship through questionnaires designed to help you begin to frame your communication more effectively and increase intimacy. This course takes place over a series of 11 sessions. $3000. If you are interested in this, please contact me by email for details.

Three Important Ideas

  • The person inside

    The person you once were is not gone. All your dreams and hopes can be re-animated.

  • Your tender heart

    All the love you give, all the love you need - your emotional wellbeing is the central focus of these classes.

  • Finding your way

    What are your choices? Understanding them will help you chart a meaningful and rewarding future.

This website contains the courses I have developed to support neurodiverse couples around the world. Complete information about my practice can be found on my website. You might also be interested in reading the blog that supplements my work.

Sarah Swenson LMHC

Coach and Therapist