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neurodivergent-affirmative counselling & psychotherapy

If you're an adult who has been diagnosed with ADHD or autism, or you suspect you may have ADHD or be autistic, and you'd like help with being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world, you've come to the right place. Welcome.

I am a UKCP-registered neurodivergent psychotherapist (I have ADHD) and I specialise in offering counselling and therapy to neurodivergent individuals, couples and groups. I work online and face-to-face from my practice in central London.

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Being neurodivergent (ND) means you have a brain that works differently from most other people's brains. Not worse, not better, just differently. ADHD, ADD, Autism, ASD, Aspergers, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia are among the more well-known manifestations of neurodivergence.

Research* suggests that from an evolutionary perspective, neurodivergence has served our species well. Who, among our ancestors on the African savanna where food was plentiful and the climate benign, had the urge to find out what was beyond the horizon? While everyone else was happy doing what they were doing, who got bored? Who got curious? Who was willing to take a risk?

And while the ADHDers were off exploring, and everyone else was happy doing what they were doing, who were the ones whose acute awareness of the environment alerted them to the presence of danger? Who were the ones who didn't just accept that things were the way they were but wanted to know why? 

There are all sorts of reasons why today we find ourselves in a society that places a higher value on conformity than on difference, and that's why that in spite of the evolutionary advantage we have given our species as a whole, as individuals we often find ourselves at a distinct disadvantage. 

In my experience, one of the biggest difficulties we face is that our difference is invisible - both to ourselves and to others. And the thing is, as humans, we tend to instinctively believe that if someone looks like us, they are like us - and we are like them. So when we can't function the way everyone else does, we don't understand it. If it's difficult for us to knuckle down and get our homework done, or focus on what the teacher's saying in class, we assume it's just as difficult for everyone else. But they manage and we don't. Or if the light's too bright or the noise of the chalk on the blackboard drives daggers into our ears, it must be the same for them, but they put up with it. So why can't we do what they do? Are we lazy or weak or over-sensitive?


We're certainly something and whatever it is we are, it isn't good. We may get into trouble, we get criticised, we 'disappoint' our parents and we feel bad about it. So we try to hide our difference, either by making a supreme effort to fit in or by going the other way and rebelling. And, out of our awareness, those strategies that we develop in childhood, stick with us, as do the beliefs that secretly, there's something wrong with us.

The good news is, there isn't anything wrong with us. So the therapy I offer isn't about curing you, it's about changing those hidden strategies and mistaken beliefs you developed as a child when you (and probably your parents and your teachers) didn't know any better.

* Have a look at my resources page for links to research and other cool ND stuff

What I offer
individual therapy

I think of this as being a bit like pulling out an invisible splinter. Something's causing you grief but you can't quite see it. With an extra pair of eyes we can find the problem and get rid of it. If that's all you need, that's great and we're done; if you keep on getting splinters we may decide to go a bit further and look at ways of avoiding them.

what I offer

couples counselling

Couples counselling gives you a space where you can be heard. We're often suprisingly bad at communicating and my job is to help you both say what you really need to say and ensure that each of you hears what the other is saying. Infidelity, sexual incompatibility, resentment, they're all manifestations of the same problem: a failure in communication.

group therapy

We live in groups. How we think and behave impacts the way others behave towards us, and how others behave towards us impacts on our personal wellbeing. Group therapy is great because it's like a laboratory where you can safely road-test your own behaviour and get feedback from the people it affects. People just like you who are road-testing behaviours of their own.

what it costs

Individual therapy:  £80 per 50 minute session

Couples counselling: £120 per 75 minute session

Fortnightly Couples counselling: £150 per 90 minute session

Group therapy: £50 per 2 hour session

What it costs
about me
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I left school at the age of eighteen with no qualifications. I was a photocopy boy in an estate agents and taught English as a foreign language on Oxford Street. When I was twenty I spent eight months sleeping on a folding bed in the kitchen of an Italian hotel where I made the breakfasts before going to work in a street market. I worked as a croupier in three London casinos; spent over a year in prison in France; built a chain of launderettes in Amsterdam; tried my hand at copywriting and became Creative Director of one of the world's leading ad agencies. I was a Samaritan volunteer and one of the founding members of what is now one of the biggest suicide prevention charities in the UK.

At the age of fifty-five I was diagnosed with ADHD and, for the first time in my life, was able to consider the possibility that maybe it wasn't the fact that I was thick or lazy or weak-willed that made it difficult for me to knuckle down. Maybe it was just that my brain worked in a different way. And knowing that, maybe I could study after all. 

I now hold a post-graduate level diploma in Transactional Analysis Psychotherapeutic Counselling. I am a member of the International Transactional Analysis Association (ITAA), the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

About me
contact me

Paul McManus

07837 825 665

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This is a really straightforward introductory video to ADHD by Dr Thomas E Brown.

This article by autistic writer Mykola Bilokonsky ought to be compulsory reading for anyone seeking to understand autism.

An article by Penny Spikins about the evolutionary benefits of autism.

An academic paper discussing the evolutionary benefits of ADHD.

The most widely-used initial self-assessment tool for ADHD.

An online self-assessment autism questionnaire.

The CAT-Q (Camouflaging Autistic Traits Questionnaire). This is a more nuanced test which accounts for adults' learned ability to mask their traits.

A guide to diagnostic pathways in the UK.

Dr Luke Beardon's page on Amazon (his books on Autism are wonderful).

There are lots of different ways of describing neurodivergence, and there are many disagreements about which terms we should or shouldn't be using. I try not to get involved in these more heated debates, but this article by Dr Nick Walker is quite useful for definitions.


ND-friendly T-shirts and hoodies 

Thriving Autistic runs groups for people who have been recently identified as Autistic, they also have a lot of resources for Autistic people - well worth having a look.

The Autistic Advocate, Kieran Rose, does an online course called Inside Autism. If you're Autistic and want to find out more about autism, it's brilliant. If you're a neurotypical mental health professional, I think it ought to be a compulsory part of your training. 

Clinical Assessments:

The Adult Autism Practice is based in Ireland and it is the most wonderfully neuro-affirmative place to get an autism assessment. Their assessments are accepted in the UK (and they're cheaper than most of the providers I'm aware of. I can't recommend them highly enough.


Psychiatry-UK is an online service which in most cases is significantly quicker than going through your GP.


Dr Pablo Jeczmien is a private psychiatrist I work with (and like) who currently has availability.

RTN Mental Health Solutions offer fixed-price diagnosis of ADHD and Autism within six weeks.

Other ND-therapists you might want to look at:

Bob Hunter is based in Scotland but works online. He's multiply ND and he's great.

Tony Hall is Autistic and works online and in-person in Lancashire. He's one of my favourite people.

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