Working with adult clients with ADHD has unique issues. Especially if not diagnosed until adulthood, you may have struggled to effectively manage yourself in many aspects of your life.
2900 Camino Diablo, Suite 100, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
Many of the coping strategies we develop as kids often become adult habits. Some habits are exquisite strategies to adapt to struggles caused by ADHD; others are self-defeating patterns of avoidance and reactive opposition.
I’m often asked about how I help support my clients in addition, or as an alternative, to using medication in managing their ADHD symptoms. I offer some combination of the following approaches – in no particular order:
- Understanding their ADHD through the concept of their executive functions – why they may be struggling to rely on themselves, and have their intentions closely align with outcomes.
- Encouraging an internal rather than an external locus of control. As a coping strategy often developed as children, people with ADHD follow the lead of others, deferring or mimicking. Either working with clients, or referring them to trusted resources, I help my clients develop a stronger sense of themselves and their capabilities.
- Helping clients become aware of their own feelings and needs, and develop a stronger sense of themselves. We focus on learning how to clearly and effectively express needs and feelings rather than avoiding or opposing.
- Familiarizing clients with their IBSC (Itty Bitty Sh---- Committee) and learning about their struggles with their executive functions.
- Offering tools to help them navigate past or present shame with which they struggle.
- Explaining and utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy to offset the impact of their IBSC, as well as helping them identify ineffective and habitual beliefs and strategies, and consider and try new ones.
- Working with the concept and benefits of being in the present moment, I teach breathing exercises, focused thought or meditation (moving or sitting). Given that people with ADHD may become bored, restless and distracted, I have a number of approaches clients can use to keep the practice engaging.
- I also encourage a conscious assessment of life style: diet, sleep, exercise, recreation, and extent of use of pornography, drugs and alcohol. All too often these things can get out of balance, so developing a sense of choice and control can be beneficial to treatment.