Neuro-Emotional Technique is a mind-body therapy developed by chiropractor Scott Walker. Like hypnosis and other more holistic therapeutic approaches, NET allows people to bypass talk analysis and get to the heart of their problems without having to come up with a good explanation for the change. This is a less stressful treatment for people with Asperger Syndrome, since they struggle to explain what’s going on in their hearts and minds.
To illustrate how it helps, I’d like to share an experience I had with a patient I’ll call Austen. (Name changed to protect client’s privacy.)
Austen was 17. He had a very supportive psychiatrist, who managed his medications. However, most of Austen’s past psychotherapy had consisted of a safe place to talk and feel supported; yet nothing had changed in his behavior. He’d become more and more withdrawn, angry and self-destructive as he approached age 18. I introduced Austen to Neuro-Emotional Technique, with wonderful results.
Austen came to me one day and said, “I have a problem with my mother. She wants me to clean my bathroom. She even took my laptop away until I clean it.”
“Well,” I said with a wry smile, “How important is your laptop to you?” I was nudging him to get practical and mind his mom.
“Of course it’s vital,” Austen quipped, because he knows that I know his world is the Internet. “But that’s not the problem I want help with. It’s bigger than that. My bathroom does need to be cleaned for sure! The problem is that I don’t do it. It’s the ‘not doing it’ part that stumps me.” Austen was describing a complex behavior that could only be defined by Asperger Syndrome. The issue of cleaning his bathroom was more than a childish power struggle.
The light bulb turned on in my mind. “So let me try to understand this, Austen. Your bathroom needs cleaning, right? And you would like to get your laptop back, right? But there is this in-between step that’s missing for you — the ‘not doing it’ part. Is that right?”
“Yes, that’s it,” said Austen, and he perked up. “Of course I want my laptop back, but Mother’s taking it away won’t make me clean my bathroom. Her actions make no sense to me. I know my bathroom needs cleaning. In fact, I want it clean. What’s that have to do with my laptop?”