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Leila Pirnia

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.
Neurodiverse Couples 

Insurmountable Problems?


Being in a relationship where one, or both, partners has a neurodiversity can present unique challenges that may seem insurmountable at times. Perhaps you and your partner have been struggling to connect, and you're not sure how to move forward. You may feel like you're speaking different languages, that your partner doesn't understand you, or that you can't find common ground.

I've worked with many couples in similar situations, and I've seen firsthand the toll it can take on both partners and the relationship. One partner may feel like they're always walking on eggshells, trying to avoid triggering their partner's sensitivities, while the other partner may feel like they're constantly being criticized or misunderstood. Communication may break down, leaving both partners feeling frustrated, alone, and disconnected.

Perspective Taking to Bridge the Gap


With the right support and guidance, it's possible to create a safe and loving partnership that enables each of you to thrive and grow. As a neurodiverse couples’ therapist, my goal is to help you both understand each other's perspectives and needs, and to find ways to bridge the gap between you. I'll work with you to identify areas of strength in your relationship, as well as areas that need improvement. We'll explore strategies to build empathy, trust, and communication skills, and we'll develop tools to manage conflict and build resilience.

I approach therapy with a focus on collaboration, compassion, and cultural sensitivity. I believe that each person and relationship is unique, and I strive to create a safe and non-judgmental space where you can explore your experiences and feelings without fear of criticism or rejection. I'll work with you to tailor our sessions to your specific needs and goals, and we'll work at a pace that feels comfortable for you both.

If you're struggling in your relationship and feel like you're at a crossroads, I encourage you to reach out for support. Together, we can work towards building a stronger, more connected partnership that brings out the best in each of you.

 

Parenting Neurodiverse Children, including ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, OCD, Giftedness, and Twice Exceptional (2e) 

As a parent, you seek insightful solutions for your unique child rather than labels and generalizations.

 

You may have long recognized that your child differs from other children. Despite seeking answers in parenting books and receiving advice from friends and family members, you have yet to find lasting solutions to your child's behavior. In fact, some of the advice may have even caused setbacks or worked as temporary band-aids, at best.

 

You may be in awe of your child's unique talents in certain areas, but at the same time, perplexed by their inability to complete certain basic tasks. You may observe uneven patterns in your child's development, leaving you uncertain about how to set appropriate expectations.

 

To Push or Back off?


You may wonder how much to push your child to their full potential and when that pushing may be jeopardizing their mental health or pushing them farther away. You may notice that teachers, friends, and family unfairly judge your child, leading to a negative impact on their self-esteem and sense of worth.

 

It's possible that you have already enrolled your child in various programs or interventions, but you are still searching for a more comprehensive understanding of how to best support your child and your family. You may be hesitant to seek help, out of concern that a professional may not be able to perceive your child's uniqueness and individuality in the same way that you do.

 

Toll on Relationships

Meanwhile, this struggle with meeting your child’s needs can be taking a toll on your relationship with your partner and other children. You’ve been struggling to meet everyone else’s need in the family at the expense of your own and you recognize you need a better strategy. 

 

“Beneath every behavior there is a feeling. And beneath every feeling there is a need. And when we meet that need rather than focus on the behavior, we begin to deal with the cause, not the symptom.” 

 

My Approach

When working with families, I strive to integrate a personalized, emotion-focused approach with evidence-based research and best practices. This approach allows us to create a meaningful connection and work together towards positive change. I create a comprehensive and tailored plan of action that takes into account your family’s and your child's unique strengths and challenges, without solely relying on labels and diagnoses. I work with parents every step of the way and help them discover the “why” beneath their child’s behavior and guide them toward positive changes. 

 

I offer specific guidance to help parents engage with their children in ways that tap into their intrinsic motivation for growth and success. My approach is founded upon evidence-based neuropsychology, curiosity, thoroughness, and clinical integrity, to help your child and the family reach their full potential. 

 

In our work together, you will come away with a nuanced and individualized roadmap that is tailored to your child's unique needs, allowing you to make current and future decisions that are suited to their individuality. I am a firm believer that therapy has the power to unlock the world-changing potential of the neurodiverse mind, and I am committed to helping your child achieve their full potential. 

Read more about our care for Twice-Exceptional Children.


 
Specialties and Certifications
  • Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist 

  • Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor

  • Neurodiverse Parenting Specialist

  • Neurodiverse Couples Specialist

  • Kids and Teens Therapist

  • Cassandra Syndrome Specialist

  • ADHD, OCD, and Anxiety Specialist

Life Experience
  • Associate Psychotherapist at Neurodiverse Couples Counseling Center and Autism Parenting Therapy Center. Training with Dr. Harry Moto, Clinical Director and Founder.

  • Clinical training - The Center for Professional Counseling of Los Angeles.  Trained from a psychodynamic, depth-oriented clinical theoretical orientation, integrating alternative modalities as needed such as family systems theory, attachment theory, and CBT/DBT/ACT. 

  • Clinical training - Outreach Concern. Work with children, teens, and families as a school-based mental health therapist at multiple school sites. Handle a diverse caseload of students with behavioral, social, emotional, and academic needs. Incorporate a strengths-based orientation to foster academic growth and help students reach their personal potential, both inside and outside the classroom. 

  • Graduate Research Associate working alongside Dr. Shelly Harrell in her Culture, Wisdom, and Resilience Lab. My primary focus was the development of a unique application designed specifically for mental health therapists. This innovative tool enables therapists to incorporate quotes from thought leaders into their therapy practices, promoting greater wisdom, insight, and resilience among their clients.

  • Prior President, CFO, COO, and Founder of various tech companies, startups, and non-profit organizations. Learnings from the corporate world helped shape my passion for understanding people’s behaviors, motivations, and drives. These experiences have equipped me with a unique perspective and skill set that I bring to my work as a mental health therapist.  

Education
  • Bachelor of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis on Marriage & Family Therapy, Pepperdine University


 

Other Areas of Focus
  • High Achievers

  • Tech Executives, Corporate Executives

  • Midlife and Life Transitions

  • First Generation, Immigrants and Children of Immigrants

  • Trilingual: Farsi (Persian), Spanish, and English

Clients
  • Individuals

  • Couples

  • Families

  • Teens/Kids

Modalities
  • Psychodynamic/depth-oriented psychology

  • EFT (emotion focused therapy for couples)

  • IFS (internal family systems)

  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) including ACT and DBT

  • Family Systems Dynamics

  • Solution focused therapy

License
  • Registered Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, MFTA #138180

  • California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)

  • Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology.

  • Supervised by Dr. Harry Motro, LMFT #53452

  • Employed by New Path Couples Therapy, Inc.

Specialty areas:

LGBTQIA+, Muslim background, Sex-Kink-Poly, Addiction, Assessment, Parenting Neurodiversity, Parenting, Teens, ND at Work, Neurodiverse Couples, ADHD, Autism, Buddist - Spiritual, Cassandra, Discernment, Internal Family Systems, Children, Trans

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