Neurodivergent Affirming Therapy in Santa Rosa

Mojo Tchudi

I’m neurodivergent, so I process the world differently. Rather than treat these differences as problematic, I have structured a life where my unique sensitivities and perspective are strengths to be celebrated. This is the approach of neurodivergent affirming therapy.

I feel comfortable among other neurodivergent folks. I understand the accommodations you need to feel comfortable. Subdued lighting, activities to do during therapy (but not too many!), and respect for differences in cognitive, emotional, interoceptive, and sensory processing are hallmarks of my approach to therapy. I eschew treatments that center on behavioral modification and instead focus on ways your differences are your strengths. We develop coping strategies that are unique to your goals while helping you learn to understand your neurotype.

Neurodivergent affirming therapy is a strengths-based approach to autism, ADHD, high-sensitivity, sensory-processing differences, and other ways people experience their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions differ. Rather than think of autism or ADHD as diagnoses — which pathologizes symptoms as a problem that needs to be fixed — we view them as neurotypes, that is, differences that may require accommodations but also have unique strengths to be developed.

As a high-sensitivity person (HSP), my differences were problematized by adults when I was a child; I was “hypersensitive” who complained unnecessarily. My basic needs for food and shelter were met, but I had other needs that were not identified and I was seen as merely difficult: adjusted lighting, protection from loud sounds, help navigating school and peer interactions. My poor grades in high school were not due to oppositional behaviors or a lack of motivation, as was assumed by the adults in my life, but because the environment of the school was overstimulating and frequently hostile to my differences. The adults in my world didn’t help me find accommodations to support my thriving; instead they pathologized my sensitivity.

It was not until middle-adulthood that I learned of high-sensitivity as a neurological difference that helped explain many of my experiences. Introversion and social anxiety, for example, were better explained by high-sensitivity. I’m cautious and risk-averse: to protect my sensitivity I anticipate unintended consequences and take precautions rather than jump into thrill-seeking activities. I perceive failure and rejection deeply, I avoid competition and being ranked, so I didn’t feel safe in sports or chess club. I seek, instead, environments that protect and nurture my sensitivity. This has led me to living in rural intentional community that values meditation and compassion towards life, studying healing arts and philosophy, and becoming a psychotherapist — all areas where my sensitivity is a strength.

As a counselor, I love working with neurodivergent folks, whether you are self-identified, have a diagnosis, or are considering an assessment; whether you are Autistic, an ADHDer, have high sensitivity, synesthesia, or any other flavor of neurodivergence. The first step is to schedule a free consultation with me where we can meet in a video chat and see if we’ll be a good fit. I look forward to meeting you!