Counseling Attention Deficit Disorder
When Does Counseling Help?
We are big believers that you should not just be giving an attention deficit child medication without therapy.
There are a lot of good, long-term studies from the days of Satterfield on, that show that medication by itself in long term is not a whole lot better than no treatment at all (Satterfield, et.al.). Medication for Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD is far more effective when it is combined with counseling.
Family Therapy Can Be Helpful
The family needs to adjust to the ADHD child, and know how to adjust to him. Parents need to know what to expect from the Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD child, and the siblings need to be filled in on what is going on as well.
In fact, often the focus of family therapy ought to be the siblings. There is often a lot of jealousy with the siblings focused at the ADHD patient. Why? Because the patient has been getting all kinds of attention from the parents, both good attention and bad, over the past several years.
Also because the ADHD child probably gets away with a lot more than his non-ADHD siblings do. So the jealousy needs to be addressed at some point.
Parent Training Classes are Great
Most parenting classes focus on getting kids with Attention Deficit Disorder to be more compliant.
It doesn’t matter if the ADHD child is noncompliance because he’s a space cadet and can’t remember what he’s supposed to do, or if he’s being defiant and refuses to do what he’s supposed to do. Either way there’s a problem that needs to be fixed.
A good parent training class will give parents the skills needed to teach their ADHD kids to be successful at being obedient.
Individual Counseling with ADHD Children: Skills Not Insight
What about individual counseling or therapy for Attention Deficit Disorder?
Individual therapy using cognitive-behavioral approaches can be very helpful in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder ADHD. Stop and think therapy, teaching the ADHD child how to solve problems, and teaching him how to decrease his impulsivity is great. Teaching the Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD child how to monitor his own behaviors is important as well.
I really have a tough time with people doing regular psychotherapy with these kids, as in, “Well, how does that make you feel? Here, come play with this doll.”
Sorry, I have a tough time with that. If the problem is Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD, then the child has a neurological problem.
Attention Deficit Disorder is an impulse-control disorder, or dis-inhibition disorder, and ADHD children need to be taught how to control themselves, how to decrease their impulsivity, how to solve problems, and how to stop and think before they act. They need to be taught skills to help them be more successful.
I rarely ask ADHD kids, “How do you feel?” simply because I rarely care how they feel.
Now, that may sound cold to you, but it’s really not.
I don’t try to help ADD ADHD kids to “feel good” about themselves, or have “good self-esteem.” There are too many people who feel good about themselves, but do wrong things, things that keep them from being successful, or things that get them into trouble, or things that hurt other people.
This may shock you, but Self-Esteem is highly overrated.
Some of you may find this opinion offensive. I'm sorry, but I know in my heart that I'm right.
Self-Esteem, without Self-Control and Respect for others, leads to selfish behaviors at best, and to criminal behaviors at worst.
Every criminal behind bars has good Self-Esteem, so much so that they believed that the laws of our society did not apply to them.
For those of you who want to argue, first consider this: one study published in 1997 reported that the "average" criminal locked up in prison had committed 116 crimes for which he was not arrested, or convicted, for each crime for which he was arrested and convicted! 116 to 1!
Every sociopath in the world has inflated self-esteem. We have to stop pushing self-esteem and start pushing self-control and respect for others.
Self-esteem should come naturally as the result of hard work which leads to success, not from "Self-Esteem Classes" or "Workbooks." We've become a society that praises mediocre work so that we don't offend anyone, and as a result our national work ethic has eroded away and we get lots of mediocre efforts.
Less Self-esteem, and More Self-control
The Keys to making this work:
Teach SELF-CONTROL and RESPECT FOR OTHERS.
In order to be successful in life, which should be the goal of therapy, Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD - kids need to learn what to DO to be successful.
The good “Feelings” will come as a result of the successful “Doing.”
Attention Deficit Disorder - ADHD individuals need to be taught how to be under control, how to wait their turn, how to be polite, how to finish their work, how to work fast and hard until they are finished, how to pay attention to the right thing, how to follow rules, and how to obey their parents and teachers.
The better they become at these skills and virtues, the more successful they will be at home, at school, and in life.
If your child's counselor will focus on these things - great! If not, find someone else.