It’s been just over a year since I officially graduated with my PhD and have been working as “Dr. Alice.” While I was doing work as a neurodiversity consultant as a graduate student also, it definitely feels like the momentum has increased since I completed the doctorate and have continued consulting as I work to finish my open research projects (post-grad work, essentially).
I love every minute of my neurodiversity consultant work. Of all the projects I do, I think the work as a neurodiversity consultant is some of my most emotionally fulfilling work. The combination of helping people and organizations increase performance or wellbeing, while also knowing I am helping support people who are struggling with a disability is highly gratifying.
I am often saddened by hearing stories of how other people have worked with other expert adhd therapists, adhd executive functioning coaches, diversity and inclusion consultant (or diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging experts), etc. and had less than optimal results. At the same time, I am always so grateful when my clients give me a chance to help them experience positive change — particularly when they have had negative experiences in the past. I feel so honored by their trust in me.
Why is it hard to find a good neurodiversity consultant?
I often wonder why it is so hard to find a “good” neurodiversity consultant to work with. I think a large part of it comes down to personality, experience, and role fit. Traditionally trained therapists and psychologists usually don’t have work experience outside of doing therapy. I suspect this makes it challenging for them to help clients brainstorm effective solutions – which is why they are often seen as “talking heads” who ask the client what the client thinks, rather than providing useful external suggestions outside of therapeutic treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, etc.
How am I different from other neurodiversity consultants?
From my experiences thus far, I believe a large part of my success as a therapist specializing in ADHD but working more broadly as a neurodiversity consultant / expert adhd coaching / adhd executive functioning coach / diversity and inclusion consultant (whatever title they need me to have for the particular situation) – is because I spent 20 years working in technology and wellbeing oriented companies, largely in management roles, so I have the experience and expertise necessary to make relevant judgements about what could be considered a reasonable accommodation for a neurodiverse disability, and to help think through possible solutions or tactics to use in the workplace based on having actually been in the leader and/or employee’s shoes, myself, in the past.
In my work with my clients, since my doctorate is in Industrial/Organizational psychology rather than in clinical psychology, my methods are considerably different than the traditional therapeutic methods that a clinical psychologist or behavioral therapist might employ, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Since my branch of psychology focuses on human motivations and between-people interactions, the neurodiversity consultant, adhd coaching, and diversity and inclusion consulting or research work I do tends to focus on using strategic, problem-solving methods based on appreciative inquiry, and on increasing client’s emotional intelligence in better understanding themselves and the other people they need to work with.
As my clients always hear me telling them, life is a “learning adventure” with new things to learn every day. I am just so glad that I am able to be a neurodiversity consultant, and that I can learn from my clients while helping them improve their work and personal lives.