Nice to meet you!
My name is Monica Attia.
As a first-generation Egyptian-American woman with both ADHD and autism, I am no stranger to feeling (generally) out of place. All that younger me wanted was to be seen and understood. And, ironically, that’s the gift that receiving an AuDHD diagnosis from a fellow neurodivergent therapist gave me.
I now take pride in my neurodivergence. So much so, that if given the option, I wouldn’t switch brains. Even if it would have definitely made my childhood and adolescence easier.
Why? Because my neurodiversity connects me to a community of resilient and amazing folks.
It’s now my life’s mission as a therapist to support and celebrate other neurodiverse individuals. This world wasn’t designed with our needs in mind, but this world is made better because we’re in it.
You deserve to feel seen and understood, too.
CHILDHOOD “Don’t be weird.” That was the mantra for most of my childhood. It felt like I was constantly trying to play the role of “normal kid”, instead of just being a kid. I was told I was too shy and too loud. I had an old soul and I was a “cry baby”. I just wanted to fit in, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t seem to get it right. I spent hours a day watching my peers, reading fiction books, and watching TV with the sole purpose of learning how to make friends. I couldn't shake the feeling that everyone, but me, got a rulebook for how to exist. Maybe parts of my experience sound familiar to you. Autism is often missed in young women and people of color because the diagnosis was not originally studied with us in mind. I went undiagnosed for decades, and over time, I created the perfect “normal person” mask for every occasion. DIAGNOSIS I was diagnosed with ADHD and autism as an adult by accident. I was seeing a therapist again because, even though I had worked through all the Big Stuff in my 20s, something still felt off. At this point, I had changed my career from lawyer to therapist. I was married to a person I love very much. I had just lost my dad, but I also had a beautiful community of people around me. So what was the problem? I was still forcing myself to show up as that “normal person” mask and ignoring how awful it made me feel. My therapist, who is also neurodivergent, was able to pick up on the signs right away. She knew all the right questions to ask me, because she had studied what autism and ADHD looks like in women. She had lived experience of it too, and knew what that awful feeling was. Because she felt it too. Now I get to pay it forward and help other folks like me! Because it does look different, and we shouldn’t have to force ourselves to be anything we don’t want to be. UNMASKING I wish I could say that receiving a diagnosis made it so I never had to struggle again. It did not, in fact, completely eliminate the sensory sensitivities, executive dysfunction, and negative social stigma. But it gave me the strength and tools to take care of myself the way that I need to thrive. My diagnosis also brought me closer to people I love. It turns out that a lot of my close friends are also neurodivergent! But because I didn’t have a name for why my brain felt so different, I hid parts of who I was. While masking provided me with a sense of safety when I needed it, it no longer serves me. I’m free to be as weird as I want to be! Will you join me?
Stuff about Me
Myers Briggs: INFJ
Neurodivergent: Autism & ADHD
First generation immigrant
Thalassophile (sea lover)
Standup Comedy Fan
Monica is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #141520 (supervised by Dr. Harry Motro, clinical director).
For two years, I worked in a community counseling clinic in San Diego, where I had the privilege of providing a richly diverse population of clients with individual, couples, and family counseling.
I started my therapy work with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), providing crisis support to survivors of sexual assault. My work with RAINN trained me in trauma-informed care and reinforced the significance of providing a supportive, non-judgmental environment for individuals who have experienced trauma and abuse.
I am in a neurodiverse marriage.
I am a proud first generation immigrant. I was born in Alexandria, Egypt.
I have an intimate relationship with grief after losing my favorite person, my dad.
Masters of Science, Marriage and Family Therapy - San Diego State University
Post-Baccalaureate Psychological Science Program - University of California, Irvine
Juris Doctor - Georgetown University Law Center
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science - University of California, Los Angeles
In my therapy practice, I use and am trained in the following client-centered modalities as they align with my belief in the significance of emotions, personal narratives, and the mind-body connection in healing and personal growth:
Emotionally Focused Therapy
Internal Family Systems