Zabe (she/they) is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in North Carolina who has been working in the mental health field for over a decade and providing counseling services for over 5 years. Their lived and extensive experience enables them to meet the clients where they are and provide effective outpatient, individualized, therapeutic care. She can treat a number of mental health disorders but specializes in working with neurodivergent individuals, specifically those who are later-in-life diagnosed, self-realized, or suspected to be Autistic and / or ADHD & are exploring identity acceptance and development. Zabe also enjoys working with young adults going through transitions such as school/college, relationships/breakups, jobs, relocating, etc.
Outside of their profession, they enjoy spending time with their family outdoors, cruising on the Blue Ridge Parkway, photographing the Milky Way, wading in the nearby waterways, thrift shopping for vintage trinkets and oddities, researching Autism and neurodivergence, completing visual puzzles, reading non-fiction and YA fiction novels, and learning new creative outlets.
"I grew up in a small town in middle Tennessee. I have one sister, who is 3 years older than me, who was diagnosed early as being Autistic, ADHD, Dyslexic, Epileptic, and had an intellectual disability.
I learned about resources within the community at an early age. I also learned about the challenges that someone like my sister experiences on a daily basis. I often translated her needs and wants to my parents because her vocal communication was minimal during early childhood. I often observed that she would get mistreated by peers and was commonly misunderstood. I also witnessed several peers, family, and professionals attempt to intervene and/or support my sister in very questioning ways.
After a series of unfortunate events in early college, I decided to change my major from Biology to Psychology and pursue my desire to learn more about human behavior and the psyche.
I've worked various administrative roles within the mental health field. I've worked as a residential counselor for a group home supporting individuals with severe mental illnesses. I have co-led a psychosocial educational group for a community mental health company. I've had the privilege to be a personal assistant to an Autistic individual needing support with their independent daily living skills. I've worked on a team of IDD/MH experts and provided consultation, crisis support, and neurodivergent affirming training to individuals and their family members / supports.
Working with this population feels natural to me. It also energies me.
In addition to my work and life experience of being a sibling to a neurodivergent individual, the biggest contribution to my work would be my lived experience.
After several years of working as a licensed therapist, I found myself not only very understanding of my high masking adult clients, but I found myself relating to them and their challenges and experiences. Despite knowing how genetics seems to be correlated with diverging neurotypes, I never thought to question my own experience.
In 2023, I received my formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 1, Requiring Support, Without accompanying language impairment, Without accompanying intellectual Impairment.
This diagnosis is based on the DSM 5 TR, the medical model, and not the neurodiversity paradigm which acknowledges Autism simply as a neurotype that deviates from the neurotypical mind."