Dear Past, Thanks for all the lessons.

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FlowArt Therapy is a group collective practice established in 2016, and owned by Misty Gibson, PhD, LMHC, LCPC, LCPAT, ATR-BC, CST, ACS, ATCS, NCC, BC-TMH. FlowArt Therapy's focus is on serving the mental health needs of neurodivergent and queer folx, and Dr. Misty has a specialization in Sex Therapy (she is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist!).

All therapists in our practice are trained and competent in working with folx who are in open relationships, polyamorous, and relationship anarchists, as well as folx in the BDSM community, under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Misty.

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A Comprehensive Introduction to Understanding Neurodivergence

March 18, 20245 min read

A Comprehensive Introduction to Understanding Neurodivergence:

Have you heard about being neurodivergent? It's been getting a lot of buzz lately, but what exactly does it mean? In this blog post, we will break down what it means to be neurodivergent and why it's important to understand and celebrate neurodiversity.

So, let's dive in and discuss the basics for a deeper appreciation of the diverse cognitive landscapes that enrich our communities.

holographic brain

Have you heard about being neurodivergent? It's been getting a lot of buzz lately, but what exactly does it mean? In this blog post, we will break down what it means to be neurodivergent and why it's important to understand and celebrate neurodiversity. So, let's dive in and discuss the basics for a deeper appreciation of the diverse cognitive landscapes that enrich our communities.

What does it mean to be neurodivergent?

Neurodivergent is an umbrella term that refers to variations in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood, and other mental functions that are outside the societal norm. It includes a range of conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, OCD, Bipolar and more. The term stands in contrast to neurotypical, which describes brains that operate in ways considered standard or typical by societal norms. Rather than viewing neurodivergence as a disorder, many people are embracing it as a unique way of thinking and being instead of something wrong with them that they need to fix.

The Spectrum of Neurodivergence

Understanding neurodivergence requires recognizing it as a spectrum. No two neurodivergent individuals experience their neurotype in the exact same way; the manifestation of these neurological differences varies widely among individuals. Some may have profound gifts in areas such as art, math, or memory, while facing challenges in social interactions, sensory processing, or executive functioning. It's crucial to approach neurodivergence not with a one-size-fits-all perspective but with an appreciation for this diversity and complexity.

One common type of neurodivergence is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Individuals on the autism spectrum may experience challenges in social interactions and communication, but they also possess incredible attention to detail and analytical thinking abilities.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is another type of neurodivergence characterized by difficulty focusing, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. However, individuals with ADHD often excel in creative thinking, problem-solving, and multitasking.

Dyslexia, a learning difference affecting reading and writing skills, is also a form of neurodivergence. Despite challenges in these areas, dyslexic individuals often display exceptional spatial reasoning abilities and out-of-the-box thinking.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of neurodivergence that manifests through a pattern of unwanted intrusive thoughts and fears (obsessions) leading to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These compulsions are often performed in an attempt to alleviate the distress or prevent perceived negative outcomes related to the obsessions. Despite significant challenges, individuals with OCD are often extremely caring and empathetic, they might have a great attention to detail and have immense mental strength and resilience.

These are just some examples of the diverse ways in which neurodivergent minds manifest. By understanding and appreciating the strengths and challenges associated with each type, we can foster a more inclusive society that values the contributions of all individuals

The Intersection with LGBTQIA+, Polyamory, and Kink Communities

Neurodivergent individuals often find themselves at the intersection of multiple identities, including those related to gender, sexuality, and relationship structures. For those within the LGBTQIA+, polyamorous, and kink communities, neurodivergence can influence how they experience and navigate their identities. Understanding and accepting neurodivergent ways of processing and expressing love, desire, and commitment is key to fostering inclusive and supportive relationships and communities.

Challenges Faced by Neurodivergent Individuals

Neurodivergent individuals may face various challenges, including societal misunderstanding, sensory overload, difficulty in social settings, and executive functioning struggles. Additionally, the process of "masking" - hiding one's neurodivergent traits to conform to neurotypical standards - can be exhausting and damaging to one's mental health and self-esteem. Many neurodivergent individuals may feel as if there is something wrong with them, that they do not fit it or that they are broken.

Neurodivergent individuals are not broken or in need of fixing. They simply have different ways of thinking, processing information, and experiencing the world. It's important to remember that neurodivergence is a natural variation of human neurological diversity, just like being left-handed or having a different skin color.

Despite the growing recognition and acceptance of neurodiversity, there are still many misconceptions and stereotypes that exist surrounding neurodivergent individuals. One common misconception is that being neurodivergent automatically means being disabled or unable to function in society. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Another misconception is that neurodivergent individuals lack empathy or social skills. This stereotype stems from misunderstanding and ignorance. In reality, many neurodivergent individuals have deep empathy and a strong desire for connection. It may just look different from what society considers "typical."

By addressing these misconceptions and educating ourselves and others, we can create a more understanding and inclusive society for neurodivergent individuals. Let's break down these stereotypes and continue to celebrate the diverse talents and perspectives that neurodivergent minds bring to the table.

Embracing Neurodivergence - Awareness, Acceptance,

and Advocacy:

  • Awareness: Education about neurodivergence is the foundation for understanding and empathy. Learning about the experiences and needs of neurodivergent individuals can dismantle stereotypes and reduce stigma.

  • Acceptance: Beyond awareness is the need for acceptance. This means valuing neurodivergent individuals for who they are, recognizing the strengths inherent in neurodivergent thinking, and accommodating their needs without judgment.

  • Advocacy: Advocating for neurodivergent rights involves pushing for changes in policies, practices, and attitudes that support neurodivergent individuals in all areas of life, from education and employment to healthcare and beyond.

Creating and Maintaining Boundaries

Encouraging neurodivergent individuals to live authentically, without feeling the need to mask their true selves, is vital for mental health and well-being. This involves creating safe spaces where neurodivergence is not just tolerated but celebrated for the unique perspectives and experiences it brings.

Unmasking for Authentic Living

Encouraging neurodivergent individuals to live authentically, without feeling the need to mask their true selves, is vital for mental health and well-being. This involves creating safe spaces where neurodivergence is not just tolerated but celebrated for the unique perspectives and experiences it brings.

Conclusion:

Understanding neurodivergence is an ongoing journey, one that requires patience, openness, and a commitment to inclusivity. By embracing the rich tapestry of human neurodiversity, we can create a world where everyone, regardless of how their brain works, feels valued and supported. Let's continue to educate ourselves and others, challenge stereotypes, and advocate for a society that recognizes and celebrates the strengths and contributions of neurodivergent individuals.

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About Dr. Misty Gibson

Dr. Misty began the practice as a solo venture in 2016. Over the years of working solo, she realized that the niche population that she serves needed more specialized mental health care than Dr. Misty could provide alone. In 2018 Dr. Misty made the decision to expand the practice into a group collective, inviting interns and associates to join her in practicing clinical mental health and sex therapy for humans who are neurodivergent, queer, polyamorous, and kinky.

Over the years, Dr. Misty has trained many students, interns, and associates in competent, compassionate, and consent-based therapy, using a relational-cultural approach to therapy. To be included as a therapist at FlowArt Therapy, It is imperative that all therapists are sex-positive and neurodivergent informed, and are willing to continue to further their education in sex-positive, consent-based, and neurodivergent friendly methods. Dr. Misty has evolved her practice into a collectively operating teaching practice, where she models and trains the therapists closely in these focused methods.

Together with her colleague and business partner, Michell Brockman, Dr. Misty is working on expanding the reach of FlowArt. They're working on bringing on-demand learning opportunities to the general public and to clinical mental health practitioners about the intersection of neurodivergence and queer identities, through FlowArt Academy and the Neurosparkly podcast.

What's On

Check out the things we are working on within FlowArt and beyond!

Check Out Our News!

Our newsletter is chock full of great articles and insights focused on neurodivergence, queerness, and other areas non-typical. We often have cool freebies included too, so don't miss out!

Listen to Our Podcast!

Our podcast is funny, insightful, and genuine, and we'd love it if you check it out! Neurosparkly publishes a new episode every week where we share our thoughts and have great conversations & guests!

On Demand Courses

The courses on FlowArt Academy are focused on topics for neurodivergent and queer folx and the people who love them. We provide great learning to bring awareness and support for neurodivergent/queer/adjacent identities.

Baby Therapists

News

Dr. Misty's pet project, Baby Therapists provides training for therapists interested in starting their own private practices with special focus on neurodivergent therapists from grad school and beyond.

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