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MONOTROPISM

WHAT IS MONOTROPISM?

Monotropism is a term used within the autistic community to describe a common attentional characteristic:


the tendency to focus deeply on a limited number of interests at one time.

This focus style can significantly shape how individuals perceive and interact with the world around them, affecting their personal and interpersonal dynamics, especially in a neurodiverse couple.

 

At Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center, we leverage insights from the theory of monotropism to help partners in neurodiverse relationships understand and adapt to each other's unique ways of processing information and engaging with each other.


TAKE OUR QUESTIONNAIRE

Interested in learning more about how monotropism might be playing a role in your relationship?

We invite you to take our Monotropism Questionnaire.


This tool is designed to help you and your partner better understand your individual attentional styles and how they may impact your interactions. The insights gained can provide valuable information for your therapy sessions, helping tailor strategies that enhance your relationship.


THE ADVANTAGES OF MONOTROPISM

- Depth of Knowledge:

Individuals who exhibit monotropic attention often develop an impressive depth of knowledge and expertise in their areas of interest. This can bring a unique perspective and richness to relationships and conversations.


- Passion and Dedication:

The intensity of focus often translates into a high level of commitment and passion, whether in personal projects or other aspects of life, including aspects of the relationship that align with their interests.


- Consistency and Reliability:

Monotropic attention can also mean that once committed, individuals can be remarkably consistent and reliable in their areas of focus, providing a stable foundation in parts of the relationship.

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IS MONOTROPISM A THEORY?

Yes. Coined by autistic scholars Dinah Murray and Wenn Lawson, Monotropism Theory challenges traditional views of autism by reframing autistic behaviors as adaptive responses and assets rather than deficits.


Unlike traditional views that pathologize autism as a disorder, monotropism theory suggests that autistic individuals possess a focused attention system, giving them the ability to concentrate intensely on a limited number of interests, thoughts, or activities at any given time.


KEY FEATURES OF MONOTROPISM THEORY

  • Recognition of Strengths: Monotropism highlights the strengths associated with intense focus and…

A photo of neurodiverse expert and therapist, Colleen Kahn. Colleen sees clients with Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center and is here to support you on your journey.
IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL THERAPY

When working with one of our clinicians on a one on one basis, we can focus on:


1. Embracing Interests:

Instead of attempting to redirect or suppress an autistic individual's interests, therapists can incorporate these passions into therapeutic activities. By leveraging the individual's intrinsic motivations, therapy…

CHALLENGES OF MONOTROPISM IN RELATIONSHIPS

 

While there are benefits, monotropism can also present challenges in relationships:


Limited Flexibility:

The intense focus on specific interests can sometimes lead to difficulties in shifting attention towards other necessary aspects of life, including relationship needs.


Communication Gap:

Partners may find it challenging to…

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