Eva Mendes, LMHC, NCC: Asperger/autism expert, author, psychotherapist & couples’ counselor

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Eva Mendes, LMHC, NCC is an Asperger/autism expert, author, psychotherapist and couples’ counselor. Eva helps her clients by utilizing the latest research, and experience with numerous Asperger’s/autistic adults and neurodiverse couples to create practical solutions, tailored to individual needs, neurology and personality. She also provides diagnoses and evaluations. She is the author of Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder): Successful Strategies for Couples or Counselors (Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2015), available on Amazon. Her next book on gender identity, sexual orientation and the autism spectrum will be out sometime next year. She also authors the blog, Heart of Autism, on Psychology Today. You can read her paper: “Labels Do Not Describe Me”: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Among Women with Asperger’s and Autism and other works on her website www.evmendes.com.

What do I do best?

I love people! I’ve always wanted to help people even as a little child. I especially have a gift for working with people who are on the very mild end of the autism spectrum (Asperger’s Syndrome) and their partners and family members. I understand Asperger’s relationships in a way that very few people do and this is what encouraged me to write my book, Marriage and Lasting Relationships with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I would also say that encouraging and motivating people so that they are able to overcome their challenges often associated with autism/Asperger’s is what I do best. I am really good at understanding people who think differently. Due to my curious and intuitive nature, I can often help people to quickly identify and solve their problems. Coming up with focused and precise practical solutions requires me to be wise and ingenious, and I really enjoy the challenge. That’s probably why my clients see quick results, especially when numerous other therapies haven’t worked for them.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I think it’s my ability to connect with a wide variety of people that makes me the best version of myself. I’m a very accepting and optimistic person and I love learning and working with neurologically and ethnically diverse people from all around the country and the world! For example, I work with clients from all over the United States, and from many others countries such as England, Ireland, Switzerland, Nigeria, India, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the Middle East, and even Iceland via Skype.

Even in my personal life, my friends are from extremely diverse backgrounds. In fact, my wedding last year resembled a gathering at the United Nations with so many languages and skin colors and races… Luckily, we found a fantastic DJ who rocked the party by playing music from many different genres and parts of the world. I really think that being such a open person paves the way for personal happiness and better still—world peace.

What are my aspirations?

I have innumerable aspirations as I think everyone should in order to live a truly rich and fulfilling life. Currently, I’m working on my second book on individuals who overlap the LGBTQIA+ and autism spectrums. I’d like to also have my books on the bestseller list and translated in a few different languages. I’d love to do more in terms of podcasts and videos to reach a broader audience, in addition to seeing more clients, and mentoring other clinicians who might also want to work in the autism field. And I love receiving emails from people who have seen a positive change in their lives from my writings. On a personal level, I’m hoping to grow a happy and healthy family and continue to create harmonious relationships in my life. I also have a special passion for mentoring and empowering young women, so I hope to continue doing that as well.

My Biggest Success?

I would say my biggest success so far has been to be happily married! Work success has always come easier for me than success in my personal life, so it feels like big accomplishment for me to have found a wonderful husband, who also has a supportive and loving family.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I think I’ve had a challenging life in general. My father passed away when I was 4-years old, so being raised by a single mother in Mumbai, India was difficult. Though I think my mother who is a very strong woman did her best to shield us from hardships. I’m grateful also that she gave us a great education and never deterred me from following my dreams. Immigrating to the United States as a teenager was probably the most profound decision that has had the most positive impact on my life. Because I have a lot of aspirations and a profound mission to help people whether it be through psychology or through my Nichiren Buddhist practice, I sometimes feel that my life is fraught with numerous challenges. But I truly believe that struggles enable us to polish our lives, so that the compassion, courage and wisdom inherent in our lives can emerge, in order to be continually be of use to others. In short, I wouldn’t be where I am without challenges.

My Motto?

“With great power comes great responsibility.” I know it’s a quote from a comic book, but I really think that one doesn’t have to be a superhero to treat everyone we encounter with generosity and compassion. That’s what we’re all here for anyway! It’s treating the person in front of us with kindness and respect and even a sense of responsibility is what I truly believe will lead to world peace. Of course, this doesn’t mean being a people pleaser; sometimes this can even mean showing someone the mirror and telling them the truth so that they can stop the cycle of dysfunctional behavior.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

My favorite person or role model is Dr. Daisaku Ikeda. He’s a Buddhist scholar and philosopher who’s written many books, many of them dialogues with many of the world’s foremost thinkers about humanism and happiness and how to create a truly peaceful society. I read his words each and everyday and they always empower and encourage me to live an even more amazing life! For example, here’s a quote by him,

“The wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life and living.

The courage not to fear or deny difference; but to respect and strive to understand people of different cultures, and to grow from encounters with them.

The compassion to maintain an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond one’s immediate surroundings and extends to those suffering in distant places.

These qualities are the essential elements of global citizenship.”

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

I do love where I live. Boston is a most beautiful and culturally rich and diverse city. After that, I would say Mumbai, India is just wonderful for me to visit because it’s where I grew up and still have many connections both professionally and personally. From places I’ve traveled, there’s no one favorite as I have loved every place I’ve visited. I guess I’m easy to please, but I will say that Mexico and Hawaii hold a special place in my heart. Other than that, I need to spend more time traveling internationally...I’m sure that’ll happen eventually.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I must say that I love Apple products and absolutely couldn’t live without my ipad, iphone and Macbook Air. I also love fashion and am always on the lookout for unique and beautiful designs from lesser-known labels whether it be clothes, shoes or jewelry. Although, I don’t get a chance to shop much these days with my busy schedule, so I save the shopping for vacation!

My Current Passions?

I’ve been a lifelong practitioner of Ashtanga and vinyasa yoga. I started yoga because I had a lot of back pain and now years later, I can say that I’ve never been to a yoga class I haven’t liked! Even when I’m on vacation, I’ll usually look up the closest yoga studio and hop on over! Actually a lot of folks with Asperger’s/autism also love yoga due to the deep pressure it provides. I currently also do a form of assisted/resistance yoga that I’m almost addicted to! I’m avid reader and am always between 3 or 4 books, usually non-fiction. This is probably because I love learning, with a passion. Most of all, I love writing and absolutely couldn’t live without it!