Identifying and Supporting Autistic Women in Neurodiverse Relationships

Presented by Sarah Swenson, LMHC on 12-06-2022 at 9 a.m. Pacific (noon Eastern) to 11 a.m. Pacific (2 p.m. Eastern)

In couples therapy, therapists often unknowingly work with neurodiverse couples in which one partner is or may be autistic. This experience can be frustrating for the therapist. For the couple, it can be at best not helpful, and often inadvertently harmful. 

In this 2-hour continuing education webinar for therapists, Sarah Swenson, LMHC will cover the concept of neurodiversity as it applies to couples. She will examine both the autistic and the neurotypical perspectives and how they can differ within the couple.

Ms. Swenson will also discuss why and how an undiagnosed autistic woman is frequently mischaracterized in a relationship, so therapists can discern whether autism might explain some of the challenges a couple faces in therapy. The main emphasis in this webinar will be to demonstrate therapeutic techniques and strategies that have a high likelihood of helping the autistic woman feel heard, and how clinicians might incorporate these considerations into their work with neurodiverse couples.

To avoid pathologizing autism, Ms. Swenson will also discuss how recognizing neurodiversity in a couple can lead to mutual compassion and open the door to healing and growth in the relationship.

This introductory continuing education webinar is designed to help mental health professionals:

  1. Describe differences between autistic men and women.
  2. Define the neurodiverse relationship and describe how it is unique.
  3. Identify at least two common neurotypical presumptions.
  4. Describe and recognize possible traits of autism in women.
  5. Identify context for why and how a neurodiverse client “masks."
  6. Describe at least two tools for approaching the possibility of an autism diagnosis with an undiagnosed client.
  7. Distinguish effective therapeutic interventions from what to avoid with an undiagnosed neurodiverse client.

Statement of program material's accuracy, utility, and risks: This program is based on combined therapeutic techniques which together support the unique needs of the neurodiverse couple, and how considering autistic traits as a possibility in women in these relationships makes a difference in therapeutic goals and outcome. It is consistent with current research regarding undiagnosed adult women, an under-supported and under-researched population whose voices are just now being heard.

Declaration of conflicts of interest and commercial support: None.

PLEASE NOTE: This webinar was originally scheduled for Tuesday, November 29. Due to unplanned circumstances with our presenter, the webinar is rescheduled to Tuesday, December 6 from 9-11 a.m. Pacific (12-2 p.m. Eastern). If you registered for the November 29 webinar, your registration remains intact and no action is needed. All registrants will be sent a reminder email before the webinar on December 6.

If you have questions or would like information regarding disability accommodations, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

Before the scheduled event, all registered attendees will be sent a reminder email from GoodTherapy with specific instructions on how to log in to the web conference center, as well as links to optional handout materials if applicable.

To attend the event, registered attendees will log in to the web conference center using a computer or device (smartphone or tablet with internet access) and calling into the teleconference line on a phone. Attendees will be able to ask live audio questions via phone and/or submit text chat questions via their computer or device. Attendees who are logged in to the event center will be able to see the live streaming video and/or document sharing. Alternatively, attendees may dial into the teleconference line only, though attendees dialing in by phone only will be unable to ask questions.

At the conclusion of this event, participants will receive an email with information about how to request a CE certificate in your GoodTherapy Account. To confirm attendance, participants must enter the start and end codes announced at the beginning and end of the live presentation. Participants will also be prompted to complete an online survey evaluating the event. Participants will need to complete this online survey within six days after the event. Once completed, participants will be able to download a copy of their CE certificate instantly.

For additional information about this event or our CE grievance procedures, please contact us here.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

2 CE contact hours will be provided by GoodTherapy for attending this web conference in its entirety. 

GoodTherapy is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 3/30/2022 – 3/30/2025. Social workers completing this course receive 2 continuing education credits.

GoodTherapy is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

GoodTherapy, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0395. GoodTherapy, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.

To receive CE credit hours for an archived event, you will need to complete a survey as well as a 12 or 15-question exam, verifying that you listened to or watched the event in its entirety. Archived CE events generally are considered "homestudy" by licensing boards.

Registration Information

Premium and Pro Membership with GoodTherapy includes access to this web conference at no additional cost, as well as other member benefits such as a profile listing in GoodTherapy's Therapist Directory. Not yet a member? Sign up for a Premium or Pro Membership, here.

Just want CE credits? Sign up for a monthly or annual CE Subscription with GoodTherapy to get unlimited access to our CE Program, including this event, other live CE web conferences, and hundreds of hours of homestudy courses.

Mental health professionals who are not members can attend this live web conference for $29.95 or access the homestudy recording for $14.95. Sign up here to purchase this CE course and earn a CE certificate.

If the event is canceled by GoodTherapy, registrants who purchased the event will be notified and the charge for the event will be refunded

If you have any questions or would like information regarding disability accommodations, please contact us.

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Meet the Presenter

Sarah Swenson, LMHC

Sarah Swenson, LMHC

Sarah Swenson, LMHC is a psychotherapist in private practice in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, home of some of the world's largest information technology companies. Because of the high occurrence of autism among members of the IT workforce, she specializes in working with couples in which one partner is on the autism spectrum and the other is neurotypical.

Sarah is a former dean of students, museum educator, and surgical photographer who returned to graduate school when her own children went off to college. Her lifelong interest in high intelligence, coupled with personal experience of adults with undiagnosed ASD, led to her working with couples struggling with misdiagnosed or undiagnosed autism. 

Sarah is fluent in four languages and provides coaching services for clients around the world. She also offers consultation services to therapists about working with neurodiverse couples.

For more information about Sarah and her work, please visit TheNeurodiverseCouple.com and TheNeurodiverseCouple.thinkific.com.

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • aceGoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Logo GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • aceGoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 03/30/2022 - 03/30/2025.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0395.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.

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