Sonny is a trainee counsellor. They are also a co-founder and current mental health advisor to AMASE (Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh). They produced two reports based on research around autistic people’s experiences of accessing mental health support in Scotland, and of autistic people’s experiences of counselling. Sonny has trained counsellors and others on neurodiversity, and adapting counselling for autistic ways of being. They are also involved in research around peer support, autistic identity, and belonging. They are particularly interested in how we can build our sense of identity, and the potential power of being in nature.

Intensifying Connections: some things I’ve learnt about emotions, mine & others

Is it ever possible to know how others might experience the world? How could we all connect better? How might we find ways to know ourselves more deeply?
The Double Empathy Problem suggests that autistic people might connect more easily with other autistic people, and that non-autistic people might struggle to empathise with us as much as we might feel a disconnect from them. I will explore what non-autistic people might be missing when they try to connect with those who are different, what it’s like learning to connect more with my own emotions and identity, what strengths being autistic might have in making connections, and what it might take to make better empathetic connections across neurotypes.
I will be drawing on my research into autistic people’s mental health and experience of talk therapies, what I’ve learnt through undergoing counselling training, stories from the community, and personal reflections.

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