The Peter M. Friedman
Neurodiverse Couples Institute

Training and resources for neurodiverse couples and for the therapists who work with them.

AANE now offers comprehensive online courses that teach couples to recognize and understand their neurodiverse relationship as well as online courses that train clinicians how to effectively work with neurodiverse couples in therapy.

Neurodiverse Couples

101 FOR COUPLES: Fundamentals of Recognizing and Understanding Neurodiversity in a 3 hour self-paced online course including 9 video interviews with neurodiverse couples,  4 lectures by experts in the field of neurodiverse couples therapy, and downloadable resources including first person accounts for you to keep.

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Couples Therapists

TRAINING 101: Fundamentals of Working with Neurodiverse Couples in Therapy teaches therapists how to recognize, understand, and effectively treat neurodiverse couples in therapy. This is a 10 hour self-paced online training.

Developed by Grace Myhill, MSW, the course includes in depth lectures from Grace and other experts in the field, including insights and observations from a panel of therapists who work with neurodiverse couples. In addition to hearing from professionals, you will get an intimate peek into the lives of 10 neurodiverse couples as they share their experiences and the complexities of being in a neurodiverse relationship.

CERTIFICATION 201: Case Presentations and Advanced Topics in Neurodiverse Couples Therapy is for those who want to hone their skills and knowledge about working with neurodiverse couples in therapy. Classes will meet 8 times for 90 minutes by video conference.

With a small group of 5 - 8 fellow clinicians, participants will hear short lectures by Grace Myhill, MSW on topics such as telling a couple they are neurodiverse, dealing with meltdowns, and discussing physical intimacy. Participants will also present and discuss their own clients, as well as have a Q & A session with a neurodiverse couple and with a specialist in the field of neurodiverse couples therapy.

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AANE 25th Anniversary Snapshot   Neurodiverse Couples Institute

Origin:  Facilitating couples and spouses support groups at AANE since 2004, Grace Myhill saw the need for a new approach to treating couples in neurodiverse relationships. In a March 2015 article* Grace, who is now AANE’s Neurodiverse Couple’s Institute Director, and AANE Executive Director Dania Jekel laid out the Myhill-Jekel model for treating neurodiverse couples in therapy.  

Program Development:  The Neurodiverse Couples Institute was founded in 2016 through a generous grant from the Friedman family, which allowed for the development of online courses to train therapists.  Based on the Myhill-Jekel method, online courses Training 101 and Certification 201 launched in Fall 2018.  The courses train and certify therapists to recognize and work effectively with neurodiverse couples.

Growth:  As of May 2021, 92 therapists have completed Training 101 and 63 have completed Certification 201.  A new online course, 101 for Couples, launched in February 2021 and helps couples recognize and understand what it means to be in a neurodiverse relationship.  By May 2021, 120 couples have taken the course.

*March 2015 Massachusetts Edition of the National Association of Social Workers newsletter “Focus”

Neurodiverse Couples Institute

Intimate relationships can be hard, but they are especially challenging for neurodiverse couples who have very different perspectives, communication techniques, approaches and skill sets than each other. We offer a variety of resources that take into account these differences, to help improve communication and connection.

A Warm Welcome from Peter M. Friedman

Dear neurodiverse couples and therapists,

Welcome to the AANE community! We are so glad to have you join us! I am very excited to announce the launch of the Peter M. Friedman Neurodiverse Couples Institute at AANE. When my family and I found the AANE community, we felt like we'd found a home. AANE understands what it's like to be part of a neurodiverse relationship and has over 20 years of experience providing training and consultation to professionals. Having been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome since age 21 (now 51) and having suffered the social backlashes that often accompanies one with AS throughout every stage of my life, my relationship with my wife is incredibly important to me. Therefore, having a therapist who understands and can work effectively with neurodiverse couples (such as my wife and me) is critical to the health and well-being of our marriage. We hope you can find the “home” that my family has found with AANE.

Please feel free to share any feedback, comments and suggestions you may have, so that we can enhance this program to the maximum extent possible.

With love and hope!

Peter M. Friedman

The mission of the Peter M. Friedman Neurodiverse Couples Institute is to increase awareness, support, and resources for neurodiverse couples—in which one or both members has an Asperger/Autism spectrum profile—by providing specialized training for therapists to recognize, understand, and treat this unique population.

Why Neurology Matters

The Importance of Understanding Neurodiversity when Treating Neurodiverse Couples in Therapy

A couple is neurodiverse when one or both partners has an Asperger / Autism Spectrum profile. Because neurological differences between partners affects the dynamics of their relationship, including their communication, behavior, and ability to perceive each other’s perspectives, therapists must understand that neurology matters when working on the couple’s issues.

Neurology cannot be separated from a person — it affects personality, strengths, talents, and challenges — as well as the way a person views the world, thinks, speaks, behaves, and feels.

Neurology matters a great deal in an intimate relationship, since it impacts every conversation a couple has, how they make decisions together, how they raise children together, how they live together, and how they achieve goals together.

Meet Eric Endlich, Ph.D. and his wife Kris. Eric is therapist, a Neurodiverse Couples Institute Advisory Team member, and a partner with an Asperger profile.

The Importance of Support for Neurodiverse Couples

Support for neurodiverse couples and partners is important to help validate and normalize their unique relationships. We offer a variety of different types of services and resources for neurodiverse couples together or for each partner separately.

AANE Support Services & Resources

Find a Neurodiverse Couples Therapist Certified by AANE


Coaching for Neurodiverse Couples

Neurodiverse couples coaching sessions offer couples individualized sessions together or with one or both partners separately, whatever works best. The focus is on problem-solving in the relationship through a neurological lens, coping strategies for one or both partners, and relational and communication skill-building. The coach will also offer support, tools, and other resources.

Learn more, sign up for Neurodiverse Couples Coaching

Support Groups for Neurodiverse Couples & Partners

Groups offer the opportunity to connect and interact with other neurodiverse couples with shared experiences and issues. Meet together in a couples group or in groups for each partner separately. Both partners begin to see commonalities amongst their group members which helps with understanding themselves, their partners, and the unique challenges that neurodiverse couples face. They share resources and strategies and can help each partner know that they are not alone.

Learn more, sign up for Groups

Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

A formal diagnosis can be validating for each member of a neurodiverse couple. For the partner with an Asperger profile who may have felt like they never fit in, it can bring a sense of relief to understand that their differences are neurologically based. For the neurotypical partner, it can explain why communication is difficult in their relationship, why they do not feel an intimate connection with their partner, and why they feel so alone. Not only can a diagnosis validate each partner’s experiences, it can help increase understanding and compassion for each partner and can lead to helpful resources and referrals.

Learn more about Diagnosis   Find a Diagnostician

Neurodiverse Couples, WE NEED YOU!

Neurology matters and so does your feedback.

Take our survey! Help us understand the strengths and challenges of neurodiverse relationships.