August 18, 2018

An autistic therapist

Last updated on March 3, 2021

I am autistic. Fifteen therapists missed it, as well as my medical doctor. Heck, I even missed it myself, and I am a psychotherapist! In the end, I was diagnosed because my now-partner Martin suggested I might be autistic; it actually made sense to me, so I proceeded with the process of getting diagnosed.

I occasionally tell patients that I’m autistic, and they are always surprised. If you met me, you would find me friendly, good at conversations, caring about you, fun to be around, and deeply empathetic. Autistic people are or can be all of those things, and yet because I am socially quite proficient, I defy many people’s expectations and assumptions about autism. If I told you I am autistic you would tell me, “You don’t seem like you are”.


I am very good as a therapist for a number of reasons:

  • I excel at problem-solving, and that is what people come in for. I am able to see things that other therapists can’t, because my brain does not filter information out, so I pick up cues other people miss.
  • I have mirror–emotion synesthesia which means I can literally feel what you are feeling. This helps me identify, understand, and empathize with you.
  • I do not judge anyone. My own therapist was giving me an example of something that I might judge, and I was unclear why I would judge it; she said, “Never mind, you don’t judge anyone”. As a result of my lack of judgment, my patients feel genuinely accepted.
  • I care that my patients are happy, and I am genuinely concerned about them; I have empathy for those distressed, I make proper moral considerations, and I feel a (social) responsibility over them.
  • I am obsessive about research—generally putting in sixteen hours per day, four days per week, as well as a few hours per day on the other three days.
  • I have a bachelors, a masters, and a doctorate, and I have completed many training courses; I am always doing more education.
  • If I don’t know the answer, I will find it. Research demonstrates that autistic people have an increased ability to focus attention on certain tasks.[1]People with autism possess greater ability to process information, study suggests Additionally, while neurotypicals may ‘waste’ time on some activities that appeal to them—such as socializing and small talk—autistic people can concentrate for extended periods of time on reading, experimenting, writing, etc.
  • I have had C-PTSD, and so I personally understand what it is to experience trauma, and how to navigate it.

My patients like me, they get better, my schedule is fully booked, and I get all of my referrals from word of mouth. This I believe is an indication of my general proficiency as a practitioner, as well as the benefits of working with me—an autistic therapist.

Read more about me here:

About Me: Natalie Engelbrecht


This article
was written by:
Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht ND RP is a dually licensed naturopathic doctor and registered psychotherapist, and a Canadian leader in trauma, PTSD, and integrative medicine strictly informed by scientific research. She was diagnosed at 46, and her autism plays a significant role in who she is as a doctor, and how she interacts with and cares for her patients and clients.


Although our content is generally well-researched
and substantiated, or based on personal experience,
note that it does not constitute medical advice.


Let us know what you think!

A hand pointing down (an index symbol).
Notify of
Inline feedbacks
View all comments
We would love to hear your thoughts!x