I recently listened to a wonderful talk by Pat Ogden on Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and it aligns so well with my approach – which is of course so different from most.
So often, well-meaning people take an approach with autism that has a directive undertone of ‘I know best’; ‘you need to learn as I see fit’.
They know how to take an approach that says ‘you are whole’; and ‘I know you have the answers inside you’ with the general population, but when they work with those on the autism spectrum that courtesy is not afforded.
- If we decide that this population ‘do not know’ how to deal with their issues, the focus is on instruction and direction.
- While this may keep people alive and safe from running out on the street, or keep their teeth clean, it does not help when we want to bring about significant change. (if indeed we believe this is possible!).
- Even if we are working psychologically with people on the spectrum, very, very often, we dismiss this very important human proposition.
What I see in my work is that people on the spectrum begin to blossom when you deal with their organic, body sensation; when you alleviate the organic , learnt sensation – just as Pat Ogden is describing in her more psychotherapeutic approach. And you cannot account for the direction of that growth. It is just that – organic. It is an offence to the inherent integrity of the person in front of you to think you know what that the type and extent of growth will be.
My work is sometimes not taken seriously by professionals in Australia, (perhaps not understood?) and this is often from people who take an approach that is, I suggest, opposite to this. They think at base that people on the spectrum need to learn, but what I see is that they learn very, very well when they feel safe, when they feel well met and when their body system is alleviated.
What is happening is that, at a grass roots level, people are starting to gravitate to what they see to be true. Therein lies the potential for real change.
Image: Pat Ogden