Here’s the text of an email I just sent to my professional body here in Australia. It’s not an open letter of outrage placed on the internet to ignite a shamestorm or anything like that, so I’m not going to name the organisation. But I’m sharing it because I think the Counselling profession as a whole, as well as the professional organisations which represent us, need to step up our support to ADHD, autistic and neurodivergent folks as a whole, and in particular, look at ensuring neurodiversity affirming practice is widely adopted and publicised much more than it currently is in Australia.

Hi there,
I’m a [Counselling Profession representative organisation XYZ] member and I’d like to request that another search category be added to the find-a-therapist tool on the [XYZ] website. My specialty, working with neurodivergent adults (ADHD primarily, but also autism and other neurodivergences) is a specialty which is growing worldwide, but it’s not currently listed so people looking for a specialist counsellor to help with neurodivergence/ADHD/autism, would not be able to find me or find anyone offering the support they need. This is obviously a concern as it affects members like me who want the tool to help consumers find me, but I also think [XYZ] should be aware and promoting the unique offering that neuro-affirming counselling offers.
I’ll quote you some stats and facts to put the consumer need in perspective. I’ll just focus on ADHD as that is my main area of expertise – but I note that the co-occurence of ADHD and autism is high, so I am equipped to work with people with both conditions, and expect to do so.
ADHD is very common in Australia, with 1 in 20 people being diagnosed with ADHD.
During the COVID pandemic, there was a surge in the number of adults seeking and getting an ADHD diagnosis.
You may also be aware of the increasing public awareness of the needs of people with ADHD in particular, due to the national Assessment and Support Services for People with ADHD Inquiry, which is being held by the Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee. It is currently holding public hearings, and the next one is in Melbourne in September.
It is important to note that Counsellors have an important role in supporting people with neurodivergence, because there have been lengthy waiting lists for people seeking assessment and diagnosis. Additionally, many people find the medical approach of Psychiatrists and Psychologists to be too focused on symptoms and deficits. Especially for ADHD, the frontline response is medication, which some consumers don’t want. Counsellors are uniquely placed to support people with ADHD with the life transition and adjustment to a diagnosis. Especially where they are neurodiversity affirming in their approach, as I am.
I definitely have a vested interest in making this request, as I have just opened my private practice which is focused on supporting neurodivergent adults. That is, people who have a diagnosis (or have self identified) as ADHD or autistic, primarily.
I note that on the Halaxy clinician search page, it’s possible to search for ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
For search terms it is worth considering that “neurodivergence” is an umbrella term for a number of neurodevelopmental differences [Edit: I realised after sending the email that I didn’t do a good job of explaining neurodivergence, which also encompasses brain differences such as acquired brain injury, so is different and broader than the medical term neorodevelopmental disorder], and , most commonly ADHD, autism, dyslexia. ADHD and autism are probably the two most common of these. And ADHD and autism have a high degree of co-occurence, estimated at between 20-30%. So a search category which includes ADHD, autism (or ASD, although it is not considered neurodiversity affirming to use the term ASD) and neurodivergence might be good.
Really happy to speak further with anyone from [XYZ] who might be interested in finding out more about this. It’s an area which I think the Counselling profession has so much to offer, and there is a real hunger in the community for non-stigmatising care. 🙂