Off, Odd, Different… Special? Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome, and Giftedness in Couples and Couple Therapy
When the therapist or a partner wonders if someone seems off, odd, different, or special, it is a clinical clue to the underlying issues causing dysfunction in the couple. Some individuals have demanded disproportionate time, attention, and energy from childhood and now as adults stress partners in the intimate relationship… and the therapist in session. Learning disabilities (LD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Aspergers Syndrome (AS), and giftedness not only affect academic and cognitive performance in childhood but can also negatively impact social/relational dynamics. Of concern for the therapist, the impact endures and continues for the individual in his or her adult intimate relationships. The therapist will be guided to the existential experience of gifted individuals and other challenged individuals as misfits. Giftedness or extremely proficient capacities must be examined for often unanticipated overwhelming emotional and psychological stress and confusion.
The worlds of the LD, ADHD, AS, of gifted individual are examined for corruption of self-esteem and self-image problems starting in childhood and exacerbated by mature intimacy demands. The therapist will learn how to recognize when inaccurate interpretation of social cues harm relationship functionality. The therapist will learn how LD, ADHD, and AS are among thirteen reasons individuals miss social cues. Addressing ineffective reading of the non-verbal communication from a partner will improve receptive and expressive communication for both partners, but for the challenged individual in particular. Therapeutic strategies for dealing with the negative influences of LD, ADHD, AS, and giftedness for the individual direct couple therapy. The therapist will learn about common ineffective and problematic compensations used by challenged individuals, as well the principles for effective response. The therapist is guided to incorporate knowledge about such challenges into therapy to counter harmful impact on and thus, improving the couple's relationship.