[19] S2, Ep7: Empathy, feeling ‘alien’ and being fluent in Neurotypical: being an autistic counsellor
Topics in this episode: autistic therapists, the autistic click, the spectrum is not a straight line

Max Marnau is an autistic counsellor in her sixties. She realised she was autistic seven years ago, and was diagnosed in 2019. She was born in London, the daughter of Austro-Hungarian Jews who escaped Nazi persecution just before World War 2. She now lives in the Scottish Borders, where she runs a thriving private practice counselling both neurotypical and autistic people. She also works for Edinburgh University Student Counselling Service.

She has degrees from both Cambridge and Oxford universities but says she later “lurched from one disastrous admin job to another”, and experienced workplace bullying. She had been a nightline and Samaritan volunteer in her youth but it wasn’t until a difficult relationship made her reassess her life that she started training as a counsellor and built a new life for herself on her terms.  

In our conversation we talk about:

➡ Feeling like an alien growing up

➡ Gravitating towards other neurodivergent people – and knowing one when we meet one!

➡ Why autistic people make good counsellors

➡ Counselling autistic people and what works best for us

➡ Why the spectrum is not a straight line

➡ Why it’s not our responsibility to educate neurotypical people about autism

Squarepeg is a podcast in which neurodivergent women, and trans and nonbinary people, explore navigating a neurotypical world and share their insights, challenges and successes.

I hope that these conversations will be inspiring and thought provoking, open you up to new ways of thinking about being neurodivergent, and help you feel more connected to a worldwide community of people with similar experiences.

I’m Amy Richards, and after being diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 I’m now on a mission to learn more about different perspectives and issues around being a neurodivergent adult in a world that feels like it doesn’t quite fit.

 

EPISODE LINKS:

Find Max’s coaching page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EttrickCounselling/ 

Her Facebook group for autistic counsellors: https://www.facebook.com/groups/219116049856887 

Her Counselling Directory profile: https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellors/max-marnau 

Max’s article, You don’t look autistic: coming out as an autistic therapist: https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/memberarticles/you-dont-look-autistic-coming-out-as-an-autistic-therapist

 

If you’d like to connect or get in touch with Squarepeg, you can find me on:

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/squarepegautism/ 

Or on my website: https://squarepeg.community/ 

Support Squarepeg on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/squarepegpodcast 

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