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10 Therapists Who Do More Harm Than Good

You don't need a disciplinarian, a blamer, or a comforter. You need a therapist who's actually equipped with solutions and strategies uniquely designed to work with your ADHD brain. These aren't the therapists you're looking for.

5 Comments: 10 Therapists Who Do More Harm Than Good

  1. Additional signs that the provider will do you far more harm than good:
    *Interpreting your being late to appointments as hostility toward the therapist rather than the neurological challenge you were seeking help to address. These are the therapists who are most resistant to constructive feedback and outright cries for help.
    *Focusing on psychodynamic insight rather than actual listening and concrete problem-solving. Asking “why.” Adults with ADD (especially with pronounced rejection sensitivity or if not diagnosed until adulthood) will always be able to assign or create a reason for a feeling or behavior when asked to or expected to. The truth often has more to do with how you’re wired than how you were raised. Having to constantly come up with reasons, instead of getting help to find solutions, is the quickest way for someone with ADD to spiral into deep depression. This approach is a useful form of therapy for some people but can be extremely toxic when applied to others.

  2. The (wonderful and sadly now retired) specialist who diagnosed me with ADHD a couple years ago mentioned at one point that she kind of thought that you almost have to have ADHD as a professional in order to effectively treat it. I didn’t really agree at the time, but she said that in response to my frustrated observation that many professionals *still* don’t seem to know how to spot ADHD even today… but as I’ve worked with clients, heard horror stories from ADHD groups, and talked to other professionals, I’m starting to agree with her. So few professionals who actually have any training in ADHD or any complex understanding of it.

  3. I’ve had some terrible therapists. A few years ago my life completely blew up on me, and I had a breakdown. One of the residual effects of this has been that I don’t have a lot of money. Thus, I’ve tried a number of government-supported programs, independent group therapy, and occasionally have been able to access a counselor via the health department. Most of it has been awful.
    I didn’t realize I had ADHD when my crisis exploded, and none of my therapists did either. That’s the worst part; I often said I thought there was something wrong with me that prevented me from succeeding, I confessed to having a terrible problem with calculation (dyscalculia, a frequent co-morbid condition), I often veered from subject to subject, I had lifelong challenges keeping a job… all HUGE symptoms of ADHD, but everyone missed it.
    The psycho-social in-patient day-group I joined was the worst; it was basically a cult (with some truly bizarre rules), and I ended up being bullied terribly. There were 8 therapists involved, all ascribing to the same philosophy. They diagnosed me with narcissistic personality disorder, which threw me further into my downward spiral; essentially, yes, there was something terribly wrong with me because I was a monster. Behaviors like talking a lot, interrupting, not recognizing social cues, a spotty employment history, difficulty finishing complicated tasks and getting agitated (due to Rejection Sensitivity Disorder) were all held up as evidence. I emotionally collapsed again. I’m lucky I had just enough resilience to not commit suicide. There were no suggestions for help, just a general sense of “stop being such an a-hole”. I finished this agonizing 4-month program by shutting up, withdrawing and pretending everything was fine; this made the therapists convinced I was responding positively to their “treatment”. Meanwhile, I went home every night and sobbed for hours.
    I feel I need therapy from all the terrible therapy I went through. My poor self-esteem prevented me from walking-away; I believed those who were trained and experienced in psychology HAD to know better than me, so I did what I thought I should and “buckled down”, and ended up hating myself even more.
    I don’t have the money to be choosy, but when and if I’m ever able to access a good therapist in the future, an ADHD specialization is a must. Bad therapy can really wreak havoc.I found a wonderful therapist eventually, but she was too expensive, so now I’m on my own again.

  4. I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD. I am a 60 year old female and my life has been destroyed by therapists and antidepressants. I spent 15 years crying and unable to function all the while given more drugs and told how dangerous it would be for me to stop. Finally, I was sent to a “super specialist” for “treatment resistant depression”. He gave me Vyvanse (amphetamine). Like magic that very day those suicidal thoughts and despair vanished. UNTREATED ADHD responded to the amphetamines. I weaned myself off the other medications (against my Doctors advice). I am struggling still with ADHD but not side effects from SSRI’S. Doctors are not accountable. Trust them at your peril.

  5. i think I’ve experienced many of these types. I may not always know who I jive with, but I mnow who won’t work well with me. My favorite talk therapist was extremely logical, never insulted me, and we would break down my anxieties in a comprehensive manner and I only had to see him a few times for a tune up. He didn’t want me living in therapy. We got down to business. I would go in periodically to work through some fears and he’d get my mind straight. My current med psychiatrist isn’t someone I feel comfortable talking to about feelings, etc. I’ve yet to find a psychiatrist that really wants to chit chat, they just write my meds. Good article.

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