(For child ADHD treatment, click here.)
  • Do you have great difficulty focusing on and paying attention to your work?

  • Does every kind of fleeting thought and distraction take you off track?

  • Are you restless and unable to sit still and concentrate?

  • Are you beset by racing thoughts?

  • Are your adult ADHD symptoms causing you professional or interpersonal problems?

You are not alone!

ADHD is extremely common in NYC these days! Thousands of adults are affected by the disorder, seeking ADHD doctors and ADHD psychiatrists.

The good news is, that with adult ADHD treatment with the help of a wise and kind NYC ADHD specialist, you can greatly reduce your distraction and lack of focus, and to a large extent, overcome the disorder!

That’s right! Contrary to what many NYC ADHD specialists will say, ADHD is not genetically or biologically hard wired! With time and a commitment to ADHD treatment through good psychotherapy, permanent improvement and even a significant cure is possible! I Have seen it happen with adult ADHD!

Ingenious ADHD psychiatrist Dr. Gabor Mate, in his amazing work, Scattered: How ADHD originates, convincingly demonstrates how the ADHD disorder consists of indeed changes in the brain, but they were caused by early childhood stressors, they are not inborn! That’s the simple truth, some children are born with a very sensitive emotional temperament, which combined with the experience of even moderate childhood stressors such as conflict between parents, expressed anxiety in the home, chronic yelling, a harsh parenting approach or other even quite common parenting errors, can actually generate ADHD in a child.

What I’m telling you is actually fantastic news!

If I were to tell you that adult ADHD is genetically or biologically hard-wired, there would be nothing you could do to prevent it and little you could do to cure, as you can’t change your genetics or your biology. But since I’m telling you that ADHD is generated by stress coming from the environment, that means it can be treated by changing your emotional and mental environment through good psychotherapy, which involves significantly altering your thought patterns and also gaining awareness of and manipulating your emotional states!

Through ADHD treatment of usually at least a year or more here in NYC, I have seen many people reduce their adult ADHD symptoms and even get off ADHD pills.

For a detailed discussion of the steps an adult needs to undergo in psychotherapy in general, click here.

In addition it is amazing that with the many children I have worked with, after one year ADHD treatment of changing their emotional environment through Play Therapy, and especially by counseling the parents how to change the way they interact with the child, I have seen tremendous reductions in ADHD symptoms. That proves that the ADHD cause is the early parent-child relationship, because by changing that relationship, I have been able to nip ADHD in the bud and prevent it from crystalizing and getting fully developed in the child. If ADHD were genetic, there would be no way I could get so many kids to experience such significant improvement and even get off ADHD drugs.

How does stress in childhood result in ADHD symptoms?

Even if you had loving, well-intentioned parents, they may have made mistakes in raising you that resulted in ADHD symptoms. For example, one of the big fuels of ADHD symptoms that cause distraction is repressed or improperly directed anger. If a person has anger issues simmering in the back of his mind, either because it is repressed and he is afraid to let it out, or he has angry feelings towards people who didn’t truly wrong him, these feelings will cause great distraction and inability to focus on his work. It’s as simple as that.

If a person has repressed shame and low self-esteem, things will come up in his mind while he is trying to focus and remind him of those powerful feelings and he will be distracted. Now almost all anger and shame in adults was generated by errors committed by their parents in childhood. If your parents mistreated you in any way, even accidentally, I know automatically that you will have been angered. Now since 99 percent of the time a child is unable to express his anger and have it validated, that anger is usually repressed, and it stays in your mind for life, or until you process it in psychotherapy. Imagine if your parents mistreated you by such things as yelling, criticism, or engaging in marital conflict in front of you, once a week throughout your childhood. That will mean many hundreds of extremely angry reactions stored away in your unconscious, screaming out to be recognized, validated and dealt with.

With so many repressed feelings, no wonder you’re distracted.

In addition any mistreatment at the hands of parents causes an intense shame reaction in the child, and generates low self-esteem. All those hundreds of shameful events are piled up in your mind, and they constantly threaten to burst out, which greatly distracts you.

Perfectionism

Furthermore low self-esteem generated by mistreatment such as chronic criticism in childhood can generate a condition called perfectionism. This is where the person feels so terrible about himself, that he gets the idea in his mind that he will redeem himself from his low self-worth by achieving near perfect performance. He reasons, if I can just get everything right and do an amazing job across the board, then I will have proved myself worthy, have earned my existence and will feel good about myself. The problem is, this strategy can never work, as accomplishments can never cure low self-esteem, so the person is driven towards achieving even higher levels of perfection. However since constant near perfect performance is impossible to achieve, and even simple high performance is very difficult to achieve, such self-imposed pressure generates terrible anxiety and fear of falling short, being less that perfect, and remaining imprisoned in low self-esteem.

For a deeper discussion of perfectionism and psychotherapy, click here.

All that pressure and anxiety is terribly distracting and prevents the person from being able to focus on his work!

In addition having lived through unfortunate events in childhood such as a divorce or separation of your parents, general emotional mistreatment or other stressors, generates that idea that “Bad things happen to me,” and this habit persists into adulthood, creating significant fear and anxiety, which can significantly distract you from your work.

Furthermore, if a person is depressed, his feelings of hopelessness and helplessness overwhelm him and his preoccupation with that condition prevents him from being able to focus on his work.

Unresolved trauma

Finally, we must understand that children who were mistreated in any way will usually experience lifelong unresolved trauma. That means that the memory of those difficult experiences and their effects remains unprocessed and unmourned, repressed just below consciousness. On many occasions those memories surface into consciousness and since they are unprocessed and unmourned, they are experienced as fresh traumas anew and they shock the persons’ system. This is similar to a person who lost a loved one recently, whenever he is reminded of his loss it shocks him anew very deeply, “Oh no, she’s gone.” Mourning is the process through which we heal from such traumas. Thus the memories of childhood adversities which are unmourned will constantly retraumatize you, greatly distracting you from your work and ruining your focus.

So there you have it, repressed emotions such as anger, shame and fear, low self-esteem, perfectionism, anxiety, depression and unresolved trauma, all generated by parenting errors which created adverse experiences in childhood, is the real culprit in the ADHD disorder.

What are the steps you need to go through in ADHD treatment as an adult to effect such a reduction in ADHD symptoms?

First you need to get to know your NYC ADHD therapist extremely well. ADHD treatment is a process, and you need to first create a foundation by building a strong therapeutic alliance with a therapist you really like and trust. He needs to get to know you very well and you need to get to know him. You can’t rush this step, because everything that comes after will build upon it. You have to give over to your therapist your whole psychological, emotional and family history, until he fully understands every nuance about how your mind works.

Step 2 is to then work on gaining conscious awareness of your entire emotional life, in the past and in the present.

Almost all mental disorders, including ADHD, could in truth be called one single name: Affect Phobia Disorder. That means almost all mental illness is largely caused by the patient being out of touch with his emotions, by repressing them or ignoring them. Therefore this second and very important step will be to be extremely honest with your feelings. How did you feel at every stage of your childhood and adolescence? How have you been feeling lately? What are you feeling ashamed about, as shame is one of the most critical and powerful emotions that you must become aware of. And most importantly, you must become aware of your anger and who you have been angered by. What are you afraid of? What are you anxious about? Just gaining awareness of all these powerful emotions’ existence in your mind in the interpersonal venue of ADHD treatment, will allow you to process and resolve them, so that they will be much less of a distraction to you!

Step three is trauma work.

You must be truly ready for this step, by being very comfortable and prepared with your therapist, because going through your childhood and where you were hurt takes great strength, honesty and bravery. You must recognize the monstrosity of the errors your parents made with you, and how deeply it affected you. This is very difficult because most people have the habit, generated in childhood, of idealizing their parents, and of overlooking and repressing any harm they may have done. Any trauma, even moderate childhood mistreatment, which is unprocessed and unmourned, constantly shocks and traumatizes you anew, creating great distraction and lack of focus, anytime the memory of repressed trauma surfaces. Therefore the tool to heal this is to deeply mourn and grieve all the events of your childhood, which means to integrate and process their memory so thoroughly into your everyday consciousness, so the fact that “I was mistreated by my parents in childhood,” in all its details, becomes as clear and present in your everyday awareness as “I am American,” or “I live in New York,” or “I am married.” Then it will lose its power to shock or traumatize you anew, and therefore it will no longer distract you!

Step 4

Once you have processed and gained awareness of your whole history and all your emotions, and once you have mourned and grieved your childhood, it will be very helpful to approach your parents and seed a resolution and an admission and yes, an apology. You see, when someone harms you even inadvertently, and that person will not admit he wronged you, it creates a doubt in the back of your mind, “Maybe he really didn’t do anything wrong,” and that doubt will prevent you from truly gaining awareness, processing and healing. If it’s your parents who mistreated you, the influence of their denial of what they caused you is especially powerful, as your parents, as the original creators of your personality, have tremendous power to influence your psychological reality. Therefore it will prove extremely helpful if you can get your parents to simply admit, “I made mistakes in raising you. I’m sorry I hurt you.”

One young man I know with ADHD,

after a couple years of therapy processing the effects of verbal abuse by his mother, approached her on the phone and begged her to admit what she did wrong, as it would make him feel so much better. She responded. “I’m so sorry for the way I treated you, I just didn’t know anything about Parenting, I hope you get better.” That 5-minute conversation of him hearing his mothers’ admission of the truth and her sincere regret, together with his psychotherapy, caused years of anger, shame, trauma, anxiety and distraction to melt away! In addition a warm mutually supportive relationship with his mother ensued.

You must approach your parents wisely,

under the guidance of a smart ADHD specialist, explaining to them that you love them very much and would like to have a mutually beneficial relationship with them, however there is something they could do which will be extremely beneficial and helpful to you. Most parents approached in this respectful way will be willing to help. Then you explain to them that you recognize that they loved you very much and they did their best for you, but unfortunately they made some mistakes which affected you. If they would kindly recognize and admit their mistakes it will be immensely helpful to your emotional health, well-being and your relationship with them. Many parents when approached this way will be helpful. If your parents are no longer alive or unwilling to help you, you must fantasize about having that conversation.

Step 5 is to change your unhealthy thought patterns

Such as your perfectionistic thought tendencies, fears and anxiety producing thoughts, and shame and low self-esteem producing thoughts. You must recognize the great value and joy of striving for moderate, decent, average, mundane accomplishments, and not perfection, which will reduce your anxiety and pressure and the resultant distraction. You must cognitively reframe your fears as unlikely to come true. You must sincerely examine your accomplishments and your value as a person in the light of reason, after which you will inevitably conclude that you are most likely a very fine and decent person who has accomplished more than enough good deeds, and should obviously feel good about himself, and have healthy self-worth. This is done by consciously calling attention to all the many simple good things you do each day, and by understanding that considering the adversity you suffered in childhood, your mistakes can be largely excused!

For a fascinating discussion of why many people may tend to avoid or be unmotivated for psychotherapy, click here.

Never despair of achieving improvement with this great work!

not only will it bring focus and a resolution of ADHD symptoms, but it will do wonders for reducing anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health issues, as well as greatly benefitting your interpersonal relationships.

But you still may have concerns about ADHD treatment through psychotherapy…

My ADHD drugs bring about a great improvement in focus and reduction in distraction. Doesn’t that prove that the issue is hard-wired and all in the brain?

A child’s brain is totally unformed and still developing, and even in adulthood, the brain is reasonably flexible and malleable. Stressors in childhood were able to actually affect your developing brain chemistry. The ADHD pills intervene in your brain and give it the power to focus, but they only take away the symptoms of the problem, not the cause. However psychotherapy goes to the root and actually changes your brain chemistry, bringing about a resolution of the actual cause of the ADHD. Many people find psychotherapy together with ADHD medicine to be a great combination.

Many NYC ADHD doctors say ADHD is inborn and cannot be changed. How can they all be wrong?

Unfortunately, many ADHD doctors are obsessed with the biological model, perhaps because it saves them from the uncomfortable prospect of placing the cause on the parents! However an honest look at the evidence and work of such great ADHD psychiatrists as Gabor Mate and others, proves beyond a doubt that ADHD is caused by being born with a sensitive temperament and then experiencing childhood stressors. Thousands of people have experienced a reduction in their symptoms through psychotherapy, I have seen many myself, and that is the greatest proof.

Adult ADHD treatment in NYC is expensive, and I’m not sure it’s worth the money…

How many more decades do you have left to live? Would it be worth a few years of work plus a financial investment, to live for decades with greatly improved mental and emotional health, reduced ADHD symptoms and wonderful interpersonal relations? The truth is, the benefits are so great that ADHD treatment through psychotherapy is actually a steal!

Lasting relief is possible!

I have years of experience working in NYC with individuals with ADHD. I have the wisdom and especially the kind heart, patience, and spirit of unbounded generosity, to guide you on your path towards healing.

If you would like to learn more about adult ADHD treatment, feel free to chat with me in the chat box, or call me directly for a complementary 15-minute phone consultation at 646-681-1707. In that conversation, we can decide if I may be the right fit for you. I look forward to speaking with you!

For a discussion of how Play Therapy helps emotional health, click here.

To find out how Play Therapy helps for child ADHD, click here.