The Autism Mom Coach with Lisa Candera | Coaching v Therapy with Allison

This week, you’ll hear a conversation with my former coaching client, Allison. Allison is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, but she decided to turn to coaching with me when she found herself in a cycle of meltdowns and feeling guilt and shame about her reactions to her teenage daughter with Autism.

If you’ve been wondering why coaching could be more powerful than therapy as an Autism parent, this episode is for you. This conversation is packed with fantastic insights into the differences between therapy and coaching and serves as the perfect real-world example of why coaching with someone who understands your lived experience is undeniably powerful.

Allison waited six months between having a consult call and actually starting coaching, but she wouldn’t recommend you do the same. Tune in this week as a therapist and a coach break down the similarities and differences between these two modalities. Discover why you might consider coaching over therapy, and learn how coaching and therapy can work in tandem on your journey as an Autism parent.


If you are ready to take control of your Autism parenting experience, my Resilient Autism Mom Program (RAMP) is for you. In my 1:1 coaching program, I teach you the tools and strategies you need to conquer the Autism Mom Big 3 (stress, anxiety and burnout). To learn more about my program, schedule your complimentary consultation now.



What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Allison’s experience of raising a daughter with Autism before she reached out for coaching.
  • Why, as a therapist, Allison decided to turn to coaching for practical help in changing her life.
  • The differences between therapy and coaching and how coaching teaches you how to start creating a better tomorrow.
  • Some of the unhelpful ways we think of our role as parents of children with Autism.
  • The changes Allison has been able to make to improve her experience as a parent.
  • Some tips for communicating your boundaries to your child with Autism.
  • Why you always get to change your approach, without feeling shame about how you handled difficult situations in the past.
  • Allison’s advice for anyone considering getting help from a coach who understands your reality as an Autism parent.


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Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to episode 103 of The Autism Mom Coach, Coaching Vs Therapy.

Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach podcast, I am your host, Lisa Candera. I am a lawyer, a life coach, and most importantly, I am the full-time single mother of a teenager with Autism and other comorbid diagnoses. I know what it is like to wonder if you are doing enough or the right things for your child and to live in fear of their future.

I also know that constantly fueling yourself with fear and anxiety is not sustainable for you or of any benefit to your child. That is why in this podcast I will share practical strategies and tools you can use to shift from a chronic state of fight, flight to some calm and ease. You are your child’s greatest resource, let’s take care of you.

Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast. I hope you are doing well and I am so glad you are here. You are in for a treat because in this week’s episode you’re going to hear my conversation with my former client, Allison, who was also a licensed marriage and family therapist. Allison is going to share with you her thoughts on the difference between coaching and therapy and why she decided to turn to coaching and specifically me when she found herself in a merry-go-round of meltdowns and feeling guilt and shame about her reactions and overreactions to her teen with Autism.

This episode will give you fantastic insight into the differences between therapy and coaching, and why coaching with someone who gets your lived experience is so powerful. Like I said in episode 102, when you’re coaching with someone who understands Autism, you get to work right away. You’re not explaining. You’re not giving tons of background. You’re getting to work. And that’s exactly what Allison and I did. And as she will share with you, is one of the big reasons she chose coaching with me because she wanted to get to work right away.

As a licensed therapist, she had tons of knowledge. She had done tons of her own self-development. She wasn’t looking for theory. She wasn’t even looking really for someone to empathize with her. She was looking for how to do tomorrow better. She wanted to stop blowing up at her child. She wanted to stop feeling endlessly guilty for blowing up with him, knowing that he has Autism, and believing that she should know better about how to react to him.

Another thing you’re going to hear in this podcast is that there was actually a six month gap between when Allison did her consultation with me and when she started coaching. And one of the things that Allison will tell you is, stop waiting because as a woman, as a mother, you’ve already put yourself off. So if you think that coaching is something that’s going to help you, get to it. If you think that coaching is something that can help you, then I encourage you to act now and schedule your consultation.

Nothing got easier or better in Allison’s life in the six months between the consultation and when we actually started. And in fact, when we did start and she did start getting results right away, we had to deal with some of the shame that she felt about waiting. Which of course we made part of the coaching because shaming ourselves, blaming ourselves, the what if, could have, should have are not helpful.

But this is all to say, if you want relief now, if you want to learn a better way of managing the stress, the anxiety and the burnout that you experience as an Autism mother. I can help you as a coach and I want to help you now. And so if this is of interest to you, if this is something you’ve been thinking about, schedule your consultation now. I want to know what you’re struggling with and I want to talk to you about how I can help you get the results that you want.

So last plug, schedule your consultation with me. You can go to the episode notes or you can go to my website. Alright, with that, let’s hear from Allison.

Lisa: Welcome to the podcast, Allison. I am so excited to have you here both as a client and a mom of a teen with Autism and also a therapist. So if you could please take a minute and introduce yourself.

Allison: Sure. I’m glad to be here too. I am a mom, like you said, of a teenage daughter with Autism, and she was diagnosed when she was four. And during that time and since before that time, I’ve also been working as a marriage and family therapist here in the Pacific Northwest.

Lisa: Thank you so much. Can you share with us a little bit about your daughter’s diagnosis and how that came about and what your life was like before you reached out to me.

Allison: Yeah, that’s a great question. I started noticing some differences with my child early on. Those ranged from some challenges around her staying regulated, her impulsiveness. And just kind of her challenges around going with the flow. I noticed this earlier than when I took her to be diagnosed. Probably around three was when I became concerned and then took her to be diagnosed at four.

That was an upsetting experience for me, because although I had a hunch she was going to receive that diagnosis, I didn’t recognize how overwhelming the experience of the evaluation would be. And I mention this because at the end of the evaluation, the psychologist said to me, “Look, you can make every hour count towards helping your child.” And what I believe now her intention was, was to share to me that, hey, you don’t have to spend every hour in a therapist’s lobby.

You can make a lot of things positive for your child, such as having a playdate or taking her to the park. But in my sense of overwhelm in that moment, what I heard was, if you love your child, if you want her to have the best possible outcome, you will make every hour count. And I really took that as my marching orders, for the years that followed. And looking back, I think that is really where I forgot about me and I just put every ounce, every thought, all of my bandwidth into really attempting to support her and potentially change her treatment outcome.

Lisa: Wow. Oh, my gosh. Yes, I think that what you just described is the experience so many of us have. I mean, I remember people saying things like, “The clock is ticking.” And that was terrifying. And I know for me, I had the same response. I have to do as much as possible, as fast as possible. And if I do, it will be one of those people with the good outcome. And now when I think about it, what do people really mean when they say, it’ll work out or they’ll be okay or it will be a good outcome?

And what I really think and I will say, that this has been my experience. I really thought, my kid’s going to be, yeah, he’ll have Autism, but you’ll hardly know it. You will be able to tell. And that was really to me what the victory was, he would have this disability, but nobody would notice. And now I look back at that and I think, wow, that was really, I understand why I felt that way, because when you think about Autism, you think in extremes. I thought, okay, there are the kids who are so-called high functioning and they’re quirky, but live ‘normal lives’.

And there are the kids who are non-verbal. They’re wearing helmets. They’re in group homes. All of these things that you think about and you’re like, “Well, then I’m just going to do enough. And so I’ll never have to worry about that. That won’t be my kid’s outcome.” And I just hate that entire narrative, I think while it’s good to have information to know that we can make an impact and that we’re an important piece of this. I think it also puts way too much unrealistic pressure on us as well.

Allison: It absolutely does. And statistically speaking, if you are a mom, you are already doing more than your share of the housework. It doesn’t matter if you’re working or not. Even if you have a child who is meeting every developmental milestone, you’re already going to be the one in the household more likely than not, that’s scheduling the appointments, making sure the child gets to the playdate, has the shoes that fit.

And so when you pop any kind of diagnosis on top of that and couple it with this experience of, it is my responsibility to deliver a specific outcome for my child. You simply have a powder keg waiting to explode.

Lisa: Yeah, I think that is a great way of putting it. And I’m so glad that you brought that up about the fact that women, we already shoulder most of the labor of a household, whether we are stay at home moms or we are working. I mean I see my moms who have, I’ll say, big jobs or maybe their income is the predominant income in the home. And they are still doing the back and forth to therapy. They are doing the laundry, the meals, the planning, the social calendar, all of those things. And not to say that their husbands aren’t supportive, that really does vary depending on the family.

But still we, as the moms, tend to take on so much of that as our responsibility. And I think one of the challenges that I saw in myself and I see in my clients is, when it came to my son and his diagnosis, that I was making myself in charge of everything. And I had a really hard time even letting other people in to help at all because I saw it so much as my responsibility.

Allison: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think that’s so true. You take what is already an extremely busy, challenging time. And then you place all this additional pressure on yourself to the point where it is so hard to even understand how you might start to let go of some of the responsibility. Not to mention how you might start to, once again, factor in some of your needs too. It becomes a very myopic experience.

Lisa: It’s so true. And I remember living by the idea that I’ll be okay once he’s okay. And he’s not okay yet because he’s still struggling. He’s still not talking. He still struggles with transitions, etc. So my work here is not done.

Allison: Yeah, exactly, which is basically saying I will self-regulate once my child regulates. It places so much pressure then on the child, which is wild because here we were trying to take that all away.

Lisa: Yeah, exactly, trying to solve for their emotions, with all that we’re doing, which is really the opposite. And you don’t learn that right away, but you do learn it. You do get to the point where you see that your ability to regulate yourself, to take care of yourself, what impact that has on your ability to show up for your child and to have more capacity for whatever they’re bringing to you. So let’s talk about what was happening for you when you reached out to me. And just give us some background about what you were looking for and what you were wanting to accomplish.

Allison: I think I was really recognizing in myself that I had gone kind of past the burnout point. And my unhealthy coping skills were very clear. My ability to regulate, however, was not clear. And what I knew I needed was somebody who could walk with me and say, “Hey, I understand your experience. You don’t need to really catch me up on that. But here’s what’s going on in your brain. Here’s what’s going on with you. And here’s the path forward.”

Because my rock bottom points really surrounded, were primarily about my inability to stay calm. And that would look like yelling or that would look like storming out. And those moments are so painful to recall. And I almost felt like I was a bit on a merry-go round. I would make some progress and then I would have a regression and I realized that I needed somebody to help me through this.

Lisa: And I think that happens so often. I know that it happened with me. I got to the point where I was like, “I can’t keep doing it like this.” Because at the time my son was only 12. But we’ve got a minute to go here. I need to get this in check. So before we get into our coaching relationship and in the gains that you made, I would love for you to talk about why you reached out to me, a coach versus a therapist. Because as part of this podcast, I really do want to explore the difference between coaching and therapy and who better to talk about that with than an actual therapist.

Allison: Yeah, it’s a great question. Even as a therapist, I find navigating therapy to be challenging. I know my clients do. The reality is, there are so many different types of therapists out there. And they practice from many different theoretical orientations. So you could find a therapist who talks about how past experiences inform who you are today. You could find a therapist that helps you stay more present in the current moment. You could find a therapist who really wants to talk to you about future goals.

But sorting through all of that can be pretty overwhelming. And then on top of that, what really is important to people, myself included is that you have what’s considered a good fit. And I think for many parents with Autism a good fit is a peer, somebody who understands what it is to be a parent in this situation. And so that was very clear that I needed that. And I also just wanted to work with somebody who could be very clear and very goal oriented and structured around what my goals were.

Lisa: You know what? I had such the same experience. And for me, and I’ll just say, I’ll get your thoughts on this. When I think of the line between therapy and coaching, I think that they are very similar and I think that they can work really well side by side. But for me, if there is a client who comes to me and they seem to be very depressed, they’re not getting out of bed. If they’re not functioning in their day-to-day life, now is not the time for coaching. That’s definitely, in my view, a job for therapy and more of a mental health piece to it.

My own experience also with therapy and the reason I decided to go the coaching route is that I had just moved to a new state and my thought was I don’t feel like catching somebody up on 40 some years of life to figure out how to do tomorrow better. I want tools and resources specific to my situation and I want them now. Because the fact is, I had done a lot of that kind of work before. I thought I had a really good understanding of what from my past was influencing the present. But that knowledge was a nice aha moment, but it wasn’t helping me move forward and I wanted that specifically so much.

Allison: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that therapy can work really well with coaching. I think you can consider therapy as a way to clear the path for coaching. And what I mean by that is, if somebody is experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, that really is impacting their functioning in day-to-day life. Speaking with someone who can provide that type of treatment plan is going to be essential so that you can tackle the hard work of coaching.

For example, I’ve had clients who have come to me with ADHD. I’m not somebody who works with ADHD, but I do work with anxiety. And so I can work with them on their anxiety. And then I have oftentimes referred them out to a coach who specifically works with clients who have ADHD and so it absolutely can go together. And I think you’re right, if you are ready to embark on coaching, hopefully you have had some other supports along the way so that you can hit the ground running.

Lisa: Yeah. And I find that with most of my clients. They’ve done a lot of self-help. They’ve done a lot of that work. And that really does prepare them so well for the coaching, because when I’m talking about different concepts, I’ve heard about this in a different way, or they’ve applied it and maybe not really understanding why they were applying it.

So for instance, when we’re talking about things like deep breathing and exercising and all those sort of self-regulation things. When I’m teaching it to them in terms of the coaching model, in terms of the nervous system, then it really kind of comes together for them and they get it so much quicker.

Allison: Yes, I think what you’re getting at is really interesting here because in my coaching with you, you have provided a lot of what we would call psychoeducation around the brain and how it works. Although I think it’s ethically really important that most therapists also have that background. That doesn’t mean they all do. So a therapist might say, “Hey, it’s really important that you do some deep breathing.” But to your point, they might not actually have the background or the understanding around exactly why it is and how it’s working in the brain.

And I believe more therapists are going to catch up on this if they haven’t already. But that is something that I think is really important. Why does it work? If we understand why it works we’re much more likely to do it.

Lisa: Absolutely. And I’ve said this before on the podcast, but I will never forget my son’s therapist. But my son’s like, “What am I supposed to do?” And the therapist was like, “Breathe.” And he’s like, “Not that again.” And the therapist was like, “No, Ben, it works. It really does work every time.” And I remember learning at some point, I think this was during my polyvagal training that when you’re taking deep breaths, it’s actually a signal to your nervous system of safety.

And when you’re signaling that to your nervous system, then your brain, it gets to slow down. And when your brain gets to slow down, the rational thinking comes on board. When the rational thinking comes on board, you’re not reacting, you’re responding. And so for me, when you tell me that. Okay, I’ll deep breathe then because before that, I just thought it was, this is what people say. It’s so annoying.

Allison: Exactly.

Lisa: So speaking of some of the things that we’ve discussed during our coaching together. I would love for you to share with the audience some about your coaching experience, what you found helpful about it and how you were able to implement it into your life.

Allison: I think the first thing that I found really helpful was just having the microscope on me for a while. As a mom of a child with Autism we are constantly scanning the room, our child, the environment, for signs that there might be a threat, a danger or how are they doing. We get so used to looking elsewhere that just having somebody talk to me about myself and prompt me to ask some questions about what I’m doing was just very insightful. So I think just the increase of awareness was really helpful right off the bat.

And then coupling that again, we were talking about, was just a better understanding of my own nervous system, why I was doing what I was doing. That I think laid the groundwork for kind of those strike areas. Okay, now I know why I’m doing this, I can really kind of start to notice these signs that I’m becoming dysregulated. And now I’ve got some ideas about what to do about it.

Lisa: I’m so glad you said that, because I think for me, one of the benefits of learning about the nervous system or learning about the regulation piece of it is because we’re really first taking it into the biology. Your brain and your nervous system are reacting exactly as they were designed to. And when you really understand that, it takes so much of the shame out of what’s happening, out of the fact that you’re losing your shit on your kid in the car on the way home from practice. On the fact that every time you hear the word, “Mom, mom”, you feel yourself tensing up.

It’s not because you’re a bad person. It’s because your nervous system is dysregulated. You need to resource yourself. And once you’re able to see it from that 10,000 foot view, it makes it so much easier, I think, to do the work because you’re not making it about you as a person or even your child as a person. And the better you get at doing that for yourself, the more you can get a view into your child. Because everything that we’re doing with our kids is really designed at helping them regulate their nervous systems so they can be present, so they can be available.

Allison: Yes, absolutely. I read an article in the LA Times recently about the brain and its design. And one of the takeaways I thought was somewhat humorous was, don’t blame the machine. It’s working the way it’s supposed to. And that doesn’t mean you still can’t make changes.

Lisa: Yeah. And I find this work so fascinating. The idea is that once you have this awareness, you get to be looking into the operating system instead of being just a part of it. And so instead of being stuck in the matrix, you’re looking over it and you get to decide. And I see so much of the stuff that happens especially between parents and their children as a dance, I always describe it to my clients as a dance. You are doing this dance.

And so what we’re looking for in any moment is for you to make a different move, the slightest different move because it changes the dance. And let’s see how you making those little adjustments can help you out. They can turn the temperature down for you. They can help with your own self-regulation so that you’re not just reliving your pattern day after day after day.

Allison: A lot of times when I’m working with couples, I’ll talk about a similar concept. But I talk about how a couple is a system that has reached some level of homeostasis. It doesn’t mean that anybody likes the dance they’re doing, it’s just the dance they know. And it’s become so patterned. So then what happens, to your point, if you change an ingredient and you change a step. Well, the system will recalibrate. You just have to be willing to be the one to make the change versus waiting for your child to make a change.

Lisa: So for you, what were the changes that you’ve made that have enabled you to improve your experience as a parent?

Allison: One big change that’s had a big ripple effect was being able to recognize earlier when I was becoming dysregulated. Some of the kind of common factors around those experiences, common environments or common situations. And pulling myself out or pausing earlier, that was a big shift for me instead of staying in it long past my expiration in terms of my own level of calm. That has really helped.

It’s almost allowed me to have, again, that 1,000 foot view and take some steps towards a different dance step. And I’m not perfect at it. There are certainly situations in which I recognize I didn’t catch it earlier. My temperature went up way faster than I thought it would. But that overall has really made a big difference.

Lisa: Yeah, that’s huge. And any time when you’re noticing it, even if you’re catching it later, there have been times where I notice it and I’m like, “Yeah, you know what? We’re going all in, I’m doing this.” But I still do have the awareness which it is helpful in order to just understand what’s happening and also to be able to recalibrate, to redirect yourself for the next time.

And so I know for me that there were certain situations with my son that were so stressful that I would be like, “Okay, what can I do in this situation to make this easier? Is it hiring somebody to come over for a couple of hours to hang out with Ben? Is it taking a walk? Is it taking little breaks here and there?” And there were so many actual opportunities for me to do that just in these little ways.

And so the way I like to think about it is, if you’re a pot that’s boiling, the lid is on. Just taking the lid off to let this team come out little by little by little, instead of waiting and then it’s boiling over. And so before I would have said to myself, “It doesn’t really matter. None of these little breaks even matter because they’re not enough.” But the fact is, something is always going to be better than nothing. And just really getting myself to do those things religiously really did help me just chill out a little bit more.

Allison: Yeah, totally. You can off gas.

Lisa: Right. So one of the things that we haven’t talked about is your daughter, her profile. If you could just share a little bit more information about that. One of the topics that we talked about in our coaching and that I want to talk about now is something that I talked a couple of weeks ago about with Carrie Cariello and that is having a teenager. And that untethering of the codependent relationship that often emerges when you are parenting a child with special needs.

So just to go back, if you could just tell us a little bit about your daughter and your relationship with her and how you’re seeing the relationship evolve as she’s entering her teenage years.

Allison: Yeah, I mean, we are now right in the beginning of the teenage years, she’s 13. Here in our state, that’s middle school. She’s in the seventh grade, right in the middle of it. What I’ve noticed is an increased need for independence, which makes a lot of sense. But still she will often come to me and talk about something that happened at school or something that she said. In some ways, I think just to kind of get my read on the situation and in other ways, I think because for so many years I was asking her for this information.

“What happened at school today? Who said this? Who said that?” Because sometimes her behaviors at school would be unexpected and kids would react understandably in a way that was confusing to her or they might not want to play. And I would jump in trying to essentially fix the situation either by coaching her on how to do it differently or maybe reaching out to a teacher.

And I don’t even know that I was ever very successful with it, but it certainly set up a dynamic where she was talking to me a lot about school because I was asking so much about it. And my big fear was always, is my child going to be all by herself? Is she going to be lonely at lunch? Is anybody going to play with her? And now she’s navigated it fairly well. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t do things that are unexpected. And she’s certainly not going to be the most popular kid in the class.

But I’m also recognizing that I have to stop prompting for that information. I need to listen without jumping in with my suggestions. It’s a big stretch for me.

Lisa: Yeah. And I totally understand that because I know with my son, too, trying to help him navigate, especially as he moved from that 9/10 to the 11/12. When the communication with his peers just became different and his ability to understand what was going on and to follow exactly the conversation and to get some of the cues. I found myself all the time, watching a TV show with him and trying to point out certain things.

And as much as I love him and I wanted to help him. I was also trying to, I would say, action my way out of my own anxiety and my own fears. So that feeling again, if I do enough then he’s going to be okay was showing up in all different sorts of ways.

Allison: Yes, absolutely. Because I can’t hold myself down around an outcome that I fear. Now, I’m going to get all up in your business. And I also would say this is a challenging dynamic for another reason too. I think as moms of kids with Autism, we’re oftentimes told, “Your child doesn’t understand this, so it’s your job to essentially translate for them.”

And that really comes up against, again, what we’re told to do in the teenage years, which is kind of pull back. So I’ve oftentimes also just felt very stuck around this idea of, wait a minute, I’m the person that’s supposed to explain it because I’ve been told my child doesn’t get it. And I’m also supposed to give them space to experience things and try things out. And I’m also recognizing I have a lot of anxiety about the whole shebang, and it’s a very, very tricky spot.

Lisa: Yeah, it for sure is, and especially with a child with Autism because there is a codependent relationship that I do think naturally arises. Because we are their eyes, their ears, their advocates, we are their right arm for a lot of their life. And that serves them in so many ways. But then it also gets us into this situation where I’ve found myself always trying to solve for my son’s emotions. And so if I saw his anxiety getting high, I would go into hyperdrive. And what that resulted in is, he got to the point where then he really did expect me to fix things.

And when he was younger I was kind of able to do it. I was able to smooth a lot of stuff over. But as he got older into his teenage years, I clearly wasn’t. And I just remember his frustration, you’re supposed to fix this, help me, help me. And that’s when I really needed to start to pull back with him. And I would say things like, “This isn’t mine to fix. I’ve done everything I can.” And trying to help him understand the boundary there. But it was rightfully confusing to him because in his world his experience is, I have a problem, mom fixes it.

Allison: Yes. I had a similar experience recently where my daughter had done something at school and had told me she was going to do something, something she was going to say to a friend. And I was like, “I don’t know about that.” And she came back around and she said, “But this thing happened, I don’t know why I did it. I think I did it because you didn’t tell me not to.” And I recognized in that moment, oh, boy, I think I’ve gone too far.

Lisa: Yeah, it’s the idea of I’ve been your prefrontal lobe for a long time, and now you’ve become overly reliant on me.

Allison: Yeah, absolutely.

Lisa: I mean, I just want to say, I mean I’ve said this to you, I say this to myself and I’ll say it to anyone who will listen is, I think as Autism moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the fixers, to do all of the things. And then you might get into these years, their teenage years and see some of the codependence and then blame yourself for that. And I’m going to say, please don’t do it, one, I think it’s normal. But two, we’re all doing the best that we can.

And when we see things that maybe aren’t working as well as we thought or that we hoped, we always get to course correct. And course correcting can be difficult, it can be challenging. But it’s a lot easier when you’re not blaming yourself and when you’re not shaming yourself. And so my suggestion is always, for me, what I saw with my son, I’m like, “Okay, we have to go a different way.” You can make those shifts, but you don’t have to do them with the 20/20 hindsight of all of the things I should have done differently.

Because guess what? Whatever you did was probably exactly the way it needed to be, and if it wasn’t, it’s okay too. And I see so many of my clients have these experiences with their typical kids where maybe they did something that they wouldn’t have done and they course correct. But they don’t put that weight on it that they do with their Autistic kid because I think we’ve all been fed this idea that if we do certain things or a certain combination of things that we are going to get the prize of the child who is ‘okay at the end’. And that’s just unrealistic.

And I think that it’s something that we all tend to use against ourselves. So this is all to say, if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, maybe my kid’s codependent with me or I’m codependent with them. It’s okay and you can make whatever shifts that you think you need to as the CEO of your family. And so again, any advice that you’re hear hear, if it doesn’t fit for you, you get to choose what you apply and what you don’t. And I think, Allison, this is one of the things that you and I talked about too, is the importance of being the CEO.

Allison: I also think that for a lot of us moms, because we have been so involved, I actually think there’s an opportunity for a lot of us to sit down and have that conversation with our kids. And just put it out there, “Hey, in your early years I was working really hard to make sure that you were understood, that you understood how things were going at school or at home. And now I’m recognizing that it’s also time for me to let you do some of this.” And you can say, “Gosh, you’re doing such a great job or I’m noticing this about you.”

But because so many of us moms are really involved with our kids, it means that we probably have enough of a connection with our child where we could have that conversation. And they could sit with it and sit with us in that. And then you kind of lay the groundwork. Then you can say, “So you might notice that when you come home, I won’t lead with so what happened at school today? I’ll just ask you how you’re doing or what you’d like for a snack.”

And that I think can be a really nice bridge for your child to understand why things are changing, what they can expect and what it might look like.

Lisa: Yeah, I think that previewing is so important because I remember with my son, putting down a boundary that I hadn’t had before. And he was like, “But I’ve done this before, mom, and you’ve never done x.” And I’m like, “I know.” He’s like, “Multiple times I’ve done this.” And I was laughing because I’m just trying to think in his brain, this literally makes zero sense. And he wasn’t wrong. And so having those conversations when you can, I think is, yeah, that previewing.

And I’ve also previewed other things to my son. I’ll say things like, “I know that you think yelling will get you this, and it’s not.” Just to let him know ahead of time, I know you think that if you do this, then I will do this because he’s right, I have in the past. And so I’ve also had those conversations with him just to make it clear. I mean he’s not happy about it, but I mean, and I’ll just give you an example.

Sometimes my son knew that he could get my full attention if he hit himself and he knew that. So sometimes he’d be like, “Mom, did you see what I just did?” Because I ignored it. And I would just say, “Listen, I know what you’re doing and I know that you think this, but here’s another way that you can get my attention or we can have this conversation.” And so I know that’s not always possible for every kid but give it a try. If it works for you, it works. And if it doesn’t then, there’s other things hopefully that you can try as well.

Allison: Yeah, I love that.

Lisa: Alright, well, thank you so much for being on the podcast and sharing your experience and sharing your knowledge as a therapist. I so appreciate it. And I think this is going to be really helpful.

Allison: Well, thank you for having me.

Lisa: You are so welcome. So before we end, I would love to get your take on something that I hear a lot from clients or even prospective clients about not having the time, not having the time for themselves. And that’s why some of the clients will not coach or they’ll put off coaching. I want to get your thoughts on that. You have two children. You have a full-time job. You have a very busy life and you made time for this coaching and so I would love to get your thoughts on this.

Allison: Yeah, I think what’s really great about coaching with you is that I already knew coming into it that you understood more or less my core experience. Because that is something that takes a lot of time to share with another individual. And on top of that you have to kind of take a chance that this individual will be empathetic versus judgmental. We don’t have a lot of time as Autism parents, we’re really busy. And we tend to again, file ourselves last.

But at the end of the day, what I have found is that this work has saved me a lot of time. It’s saved me a lot of time apologizing. It’s saved me a lot of time feeling bad about myself. It’s saved me a lot of time ruminating around a choice that I had made or attempting to plan out how I would do it differently. Coaching has been a great experience, not only because I could hit the ground running, but because it did allow me to take a lot of control back. And from a time perspective, the time you put into it, you’re going to get it back and more.

Lisa: Yes, I completely agree with that, both as a coach and as a client of coaching because I have a coach. And I have found that to be my experience. I can be stuck on something and one coaching session I can just get through it. I can move on to the next thing. I can have a lot of energy around it. And it really surprises me honestly every time because sometimes I’m like, “I don’t want to show up some days. I’m not in the mood.”

And I’d say the other thing I love about coaching is your coach takes you however you are on that given day. And so I remember saying to you, and I say it to all my clients, “You don’t have to have something to come to me with. I know what your goals are and I know how to ask you questions. I know how to engage you. I know how to take you. If you’re crying about something or if you’re chipper about something and you feel like everything is going great, I don’t even think I need coaching today. There’s always things that you can work on and there’s always shifts that you can make.”

Allison: Yeah, I agree with you. I think because coaching is so goal oriented, you can show up in any way that you are, knowing that the person across from you understands what it is you want to get out of it. And is smart enough, directive enough to get you there regardless of whether or not you’re coming in with the best day or the hardest day, and that clarity is a really nice peace of mind.

Lisa: Yes, I completely agree as somebody who was perseverating for four days straight about a PowerPoint and then managed to knock it out in half an hour after my coaching session because I stopped tripping over myself. It saved me a lot of time and a lot of heartache. Again, Allison, thank you so much for taking your time to talk to the audience. I really appreciate your willingness to share your experience and your story and thank you so much.

Allison: No, thank you very much.

Lisa: Alright, well, that’s it for this week. I’ll talk to you next.

Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you are ready to apply the principles you are learning in these episodes to your life, it is time to schedule a consultation call with me. Podcasts are great but the ahas are fleeting. Real change comes from application and implementation and this is exactly what we do in my one-on-one coaching program. To schedule your consultation, go to my website,, Work With Me and take the first step to taking better care of yourself so that you can show up as the parent you want to be for your child with Autism.

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