Published on ADDitudeMag.com
The 10 Worst Therapists for ADHD Adults
Attending regular therapy sessions can help you manage your symptoms, but ADHDers beware. Some therapists will leave you feeling more confused and frustrated than ever before.
by Frank South
The Matching Game
Finding the right therapist is no easy feat. Depending on
the time of your diagnosis, you may spend years searching for a doctor with the
right combination of smarts, listening skills, and human emotion to match your
individual needs. Here’s a list of the bad ones you may have encountered -- and should avoid!
Somewhere along the line, this therapist got the idea that
what adults with ADHD need is a good rap on the knuckles and a serious
time-out. You’ll know you’re in a session with a Disciplinarian when
homework-like tasks are assigned to you between sessions. Then come the rewards
-- usually in the form of approving nods and upbeat words.
The Nervous Nellie
This therapist is usually new on the job, or has a practice
that caters to calmer, more focused patients. She seems to find what you say
confusing or unnerving. She spends most of your session asking you to clarify
what you just said while she glances at her watch and scoots her chair closer
and closer to the door. It’s clear that this therapist doesn’t have experience
treating ADHD and is freaked out by the symptoms.
The Drug Pusher
This psychiatrist thinks medications will solve all your
problems -- and won't listen to you if you think they don't. Despite your
objections, the Drug Pusher has prescribed you a large dose of an antipsychotic that
has turned your whole world into incomprehensible pudding. Once you’re sedated,
this psychiatrist just nods and hmmm-hmmms while making notes on his little
The Researcher gives you the impression that you’re a lab
rat being nudged through a maze of leading questions that seem to have right or
wrong answers. He is only interested in you as a test case for his pet theories
and has little interest in your welfare. When you find yourself pushed into a
corner you don’t recognize and stamped with labels you don’t agree with, jump
out of the maze, scamper for the exit, and find a doctor who doesn’t want to stick
you in a box.
Therapists shouldn't find humor in your ADHD symptoms. If
you start to suspect your psychiatrist is using your pain for new material (“I
mean I’ve got some crazy patients, but what’s going on with this guy…?”), get
The Blame Gamer
Someone else is to blame for every messed-up thing going on
in your life and you get to saunter out of each therapy session as the righteous
victim. What's not to love? Watch out for this type: They’re seductive. You
can’t find the strength inside yourself to discover ways to cope with, and understand,
what’s going on in your head, if it's always everybody else’s fault.
The Quick Fixer
This mental health professional has a packed schedule, and
is most comfortable with the 15-minute visit. The uh-huhs and head nods are
continuous and “that sounds good” follows whatever incomplete thought gushes
out of your mouth. After each session you are hustled out the door with a
rushed smile and a pat on the shoulder. Take the last pat, and walk away. You’re
not getting any real help here.
The Fuzzy Comforter
The Fuzzy Comforter has nothing but heart-felt compassion
for you -- no matter what. You could go into your session ripping the head off
a squirrel with your teeth and screaming like a drunken pirate, and the only
reactions you’d get would be sympathetic nods and gentle encouragement. And every
visit ends with a hug. ADDers don’t need sympathy; you need some help finding
solutions and practical ways to cope.
The Dream Dissector
If past ADHD treatments haven't helped, you might try a
subconscious, deep-diving psychotherapy expedition with a Dream Dissector. You
hope to find the source of your inability to focus lurking somewhere in the
caverns of your sub-conscious dream life. But even when you manage to remember them,
the fractured dreams of an ADHD-hypomanic-neurotic-insomniac, don’t have enough
focus to even begin to be analyzed.
The Distant Judge
Paintings, objects d'art and advanced degrees adorn
every inch of his walls and the furniture is made of dark tufted leather with
brass accents. He asks you about yourself and then takes notes, barely looking
at you during the entire appointment. Shuffling into a weekly audience with a
puffed-up poo-bah is no way to get help dealing with your problems.
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