Are you a counsellor who has either been diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or who, although not formally diagnosed, suspects they may be on the spectrum? Would you be interested in sharing your experiences of working with clients?

I am a qualified BACP registered counsellor and am conducting this research as part of my MA in Counselling at York St John University. The prevalence of diagnosed ASD in the population is approximately 1 in 100, but it is thought that there are many more on the autistic spectrum who have never received a formal diagnosis, particularly in the female population. Indeed, I suspect that I may fall into this undiagnosed group.

Certain traits of ASD can present difficulties operating in a neurotypical social world. Differences in thinking styles, patterns of communication and sensory difficulties such as aversion to certain noises, bright lights or strong smells, can influence social interaction with others, presumably including clients. Conversely, other traits such as high attention to detail or the development of self-taught compensatory skills may be beneficial in client work. However, not much is known, since there is little to no research which gives a voice to the experiences of this cohort of counsellors.

I am looking for qualified counsellors who have, or suspect they have, ASD and who would be willing to share their experiences of working with clients, particularly in the formation of the therapeutic relationship. You will not be asked about specific clients, rather to reflect on aspects of the process you have noticed.

The research will involve a one to one semi-structured interview of around 1 hour which will be recorded, transcribed and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. All data will be completely anonymised and securely held according to GDPR. I am situated in the York area, but I am wiling to travel to you if distance makes this feasible.

This research is supervised by Prof Lynne Gabriel of York St John University l.gabriel2@yorksj.ac.uk and has gained ethical approval from the university.

If you are interested in taking part, or would like more information, please email me, Sue Morris susan.morris@yorksj.ac.uk under no obligation.

All enquiries or proposals of interest will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my research and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sue.