Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The "Invisible Ropes" of Adult ADHD, And How A Special Type of Therapy Can Help Set You Free

Introduction:  When I'm asked about the best kind of therapy for Adult ADHD, I explain that the research thus far points to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), in combination with medication.  Then I emphasize a critical point: not just any CBT but that with a special focus on ADHD
      Standard CBT that does not acknowledge the neurobiological role of ADHD can be counter-productive, at best.  How do I know this?  Because I listen to the top experts who make this study and practice their life's work. 
      I'm pleased to offer a guest essay this month from one of these top experts: J. Russell Ramsay, psychologist and co-director at the Adult ADHD Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania. (Please see bio at the end of this post).  In preparing my talk for the upcoming CHADD 22nd International Conference on ADHD ("Adult ADHD Symptoms or Poor Coping Skills?"), I relied heavily on the book he co-authored with Dr. Anthony Rostain (see below).  
      The conference will be held in Atlanta this year, Nov. 11-13.  I cannot overemphasize the wealth of knowledge, validation, and support to be gained at this conference. If there's a possibility that you can attend, try your hardest to get there!  Sign up by September 15, and receive the early-bird discount!   --Gina Pera

By J. Russell Ramsay, Ph.D.

Circus elephants are trained while secured with ropes until they are subdued. Trainers then teach them to perform tricks for audiences without the use of restraints. No less powerful than when they were in the wild, these elephants are held back by the invisible ropes of their training.
      Growing up with ADHD, particularly when it has gone undiagnosed until adulthood, makes it very likely that adults with ADHD have encountered their own “ropes” in life, such as academic trauma, ongoing troubles handling the demands of daily life, or hurtful criticisms made by others. Although their circumstances may change in their adult lives, these experiences may have trained them to hold negative attitudes about themselves and their future.