1st Edition

Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy Clinical Pathways to Autistic Mental Health

By Ruth M. Strunz Copyright 2025
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy: Clinical Pathways To Autistic Mental Health provides an attachment-based framework within which clinicians can support autistic/neurodivergent clients to benefit from effective, trauma-informed psychotherapy. 

    This book builds upon practice-based evidence to guide neurotypical psychotherapists in case conceptualization and treatment planning for autistic/neurodivergent individuals, many of whom received behaviour modification rather than psychotherapy to address mental health needs in childhood. Widening the lens on autistic well-being, the author addresses multiple features of diagnosed and undiagnosed neurodivergence, highlighting the pivotal elements of communication, sensory processing, and executive functioning, and emphasizing secure attachment relationships as foundational to mental health. Throughout the book, the neurodiversity-affirming approach and framework are illuminated through clinical examples. 

    This book delivers practical guidance and clinical insight, offering therapists a clear understanding of the mental health issues commonly experienced by autistic/neurodivergent adults, and guiding them and their clients along a robust pathway to autistic mental health. 

    1. Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy (NAP) and Applied Behaviour Analysis  2. Autism is a diagnosis; neurodivergence is an identity  3. Neurodiversity and the therapeutic alliance  4. Self- and co-regulation in Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy (NAP)  5. Sensory processing and mental health  6. Communication and neurodivergence  7. Executive functioning and autistic mental health  8. Therapeutic Tools of Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy (NAP)  9. Goal setting and monitoring in Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy (NAP)  10. Autism, attachment, and accessibility in Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy (NAP)


    Ruth M. Strunz is a Registered Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor specializing in cross-neurotype attachment relationships, across the lifespan. Ruth’s model of Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy is grounded in extensive practice-based evidence. She trains and mentors clinicians in cross-neurotype psychotherapy, across Canada and internationally. 

    "This book is a necessary and timely text for any clinician that works with neurodivergent clients. It provides a comprehensive and insightful exploration of neurodivergence and its impact on mental health. The chapter on sensory processing is a valuable resource for clinicians, guiding them in understanding and integrating sensory processing into their practice. The book emphasizes the importance of centering the neurodivergent client’s sensory experience within the therapeutic alliance and provides practical guidance on how to do so. This material is essential for any clinician seeking to provide neurodiversity-affirming psychotherapy and support their clients in self-advocating around their sensory processing needs. Ruth's accessible writing style makes this text useful to professionals and lay audiences. Her obvious concern for ensuring comprehensive client care comes through. I highly recommend this book for clinicians, academics, families, and individuals who see themselves in these pages."

    Dr. Paul Jerry, R. Psych, Professor and Program Director, Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University, Canada


    “In Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy, Ruth uses her extensive clinical experience to bridge the wide gap between theory and practice, in the world of autistic mental health. Equally valuable to trainees and practicing clinicians, this book is a profound and timely contribution to our understanding of how psychotherapists can help autistic/neurodivergent clients to live their best lives.”


    Wendy Kelly, C. Psych. Assoc., Practice in Child and Adolescent Psychology


    "In an emerging field encompassing many of us, Ruth's knowledge and experience honours the neurology and provides valuable results. Balancing these is an art, in supporting neurodivergent people!"


    Collin, Neurodivergent dad


    “As a late-realized Autistic woman who spent much of my life not understanding my own struggles, I am deeply motivated to advocate for Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy. Working with Ruth has been nothing short of life-changing for me. Having access to a safe space where I can truly unmask has allowed me to understand and accommodate my own needs and the needs of my family while gaining a self-acceptance and confidence that I previously did not think possible, despite many years of traditional therapy, The growth and change I have been able to realize as a result of having the support of someone who truly understands my unique experience is something to which every Autistic person deserves access.”


    Meghan Lemon

    “This book covers so much of the range of the autistic experience, and as an autistic teenager I think it’s really important for therapists to have this resource. This resource will help therapists everywhere connect more with neurodivergent clients and give them important insights into the autistic experience.”


    Anonymous Client


    “Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy sheds light on the pervasive neuro-normativity in mental healthcare, while easily guiding counselling professionals in working with neurodivergent clients from a strengths-based, neurodiversity-affirming, trauma-informed stance. Ruth's cross-neurotype work is inspirational, and her book is both a robust clinical reference and a genuine celebration of autistic/neurodivergent mental health and wellbeing! A must for every Clinician's library!”


    Heather Berry, MSW, LCSW, Psychotherapist, Clinical Director


    “In Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy, Ms. Strunz offers a much needed, insightful, and practice-based approach to cross-neurotype cultural competency in psychotherapy and counselling. This book overflows with respect and deep appreciation for the dignity, the strengths and resilience, and the unique gifts that neurodivergent people bring to shared human experience. Many of the challenges autistic people face stem from misinformation, personal and professional biases, and a lack of cultural responsivity to the needs and rights of neurodivergent individuals at the systems level. Ms. Strunz is uniquely positioned to alter the ways in which we approach neurodiversity in counselling and psychology, beginning by challenging the ways in which psychological theory, research, and practice pathologize difference, instead of celebrating diversity. Her work effectively transforms our professional understanding of autism from a problem to a cultural identity.”


    Sandra Collins, PhD, RPsych, researcher, author, consultant, and curriculum designer on culturally responsive and socially just counselling


    "Having personally witnessed Ruth Strunz's exceptional dedication and skill in working with autistic individuals, I am deeply moved by the depth of understanding and practical wisdom she shares in her book: Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy. Ruth's life's work, as a mentor to therapists and healthcare professionals and a beacon of hope to families, truly makes her the most qualified voice on navigating the complexities and nuances of autism with love and professionalism." 

    Sheena Howard, BNSc, MA, RYT, RN, Psychotherapist


    “Neurodivergent students are successfully getting into Colleges/Universities but struggle unnecessarily and unfairly, affecting their mental health significantly once they get here. Consultation with Ruth enables the therapists at Student Wellness Services to help neurodivergent students navigate a system that is not designed for them. Ruth’s knowledge is global as well as granular, having come from her extensive body of acquired knowledge as well as working with many, many neurodivergent folx over the years. Its knowledge you can trust!”


    Jo-ann Ferreira, BSW, RSW, M.Ed. (Counselling Psychology), Clinical Manager, Student Wellness Services, Queen's University


    “With Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy Ruth offers solid guidance for clinicians embracing the opportunity for a much-needed paradigm shift in clinical practice. Blending trauma-informed, relationship focused, and co-regulation strategies to affirm neurodivergent identities is the pathway to autistic mental health. Ruth’s clinical expertise and accessible communication blend to provide an indispensable framework for neurodiversity-affirming clinical practice.”


    Tess Clifford, Ph.D., C.Psych., Psychologist


    "Having experienced misdiagnosis and oversight of my neurodivergence by the mental health system, I recognize the importance of guides like this. By shedding light on the nuances of neurodiversity, Ruth's book, Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychotherapy equips psychotherapists with the necessary insights and strategies to recognize neurodivergence, provide affirming and effective support, and prevent others from enduring the unnecessary pain and misdirection I experienced in my youth."


    Emily [Client]