Embracing The Authentic Self

Clients often present with a pattern of 3 distinct styles of coping

1. Feeling out of control and at the mercy of their thoughts and emotions. When this becomes overwhelming people may rely on unhealthy avoidance behaviours to cope, which exacerbates their distress in the long run.

2. Blocking emotions and masking, can lead to burn out, disconnection and isolation.

3. Embracing the authentic self – establishing a healthy self-concept to foster genuine connections with the self and others

From my experience practicing as a Doctor in Clinical Psychology and doctorate research (designing the Increasing Resilience to Cyber Bullying Program), I have learnt that one of the most important tools for building resilience is promoting a healthy self-concept (embracing the authentic self). When you build a healthy self-concept, clients are eager to learn and are more likely to develop a self-compassionate mindset that acknowledges that support is vital and needed. It further promotes a sense of purpose, in which clients feel empowered to embrace their unique strengths and abilities to contribute to society in ways that feel authentic and meaningful to them. Neurodivergent clients have an admirable level of psychological grit.

As part of self care it is important to do more of what fills your cup (to recharge and feel alive) and try to do less of the things that lead to social fatigue and/or burnt out. It is OK to give yourself permission to feel what you feel. It is OK to take time out if you need. It is OK to have request accommodations. It is OK to cancel commitments, leave early or not answer a call. It is OK to want to be alone. It is OK to engage in stimming behaviours that are helpful. It is OK to be assertive and set boundaries. Other people can request you fit into their box however please acknowledge that their box says more about their limits then it does about your limits.

“Respecting your needs and embracing your authentic self helps to foster genuine connections with the self and others.”

Please find below links (Parts one and two) of a symposium on Good Mental Health for Autistic Girls and Women – produced by Yellow Ladybugs.

For Autistic children, meltdowns may eventuate when the child has exhausted their strategies for responding, including seeking help. It is important to acknowledge the child’s inner world (emotional attunement) and allow yourself permission to leave a situation (e.g., challenge the notion that it is not acceptable to leave an event early) and/or advocate for appropriate accommodations. There is a wealth of excellent literature on the benefits of emotional attunement (in terms of self-regulation, attachment styles, sense of self). Whilst all children must learn to emotionally self-regulate, this skill is critically important for Autistic children, as they are more susceptible to emotional contagion (the tendency to absorb, catch or be influenced by other people’s feelings) and benefit greatly from validating their experience.

Please see below Articles written by Cadence – Autism through a child’s eyes https://iamcadence.com/2020/06/06/my-ingredients/

Please note DSM-V diagnosis, provides the key to understanding, resources and support. The Functional Legacy Mindset – Five Mind Model™, should not be used to replace a face to face clinical interview to assess diagnosis of mental health concerns and material on this website does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing significant emotional difficulties, you should contact your GP to obtain a referral to see a qualified professional. The Functional Legacy Mindset™ approach was designed to address environmental factors that may be adversely impacting different minds.

Please find below articles that may be of interest – ASD and Eating Disorders (ARFID-Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder).

The Functional Legacy Mindset™ approach was designed by Dr Kerry Chillemi (Clinical Psychologist) to:

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