ADHD Counseling Services
ADHD can present itself differently in people, but the hallmark symptoms are typically inattention, difficulty completing tasks in an effective manner, impulsivity and, with ADHD, hyperactivity. There can be other medical conditions that cause these symptoms, and it is important to get a medical assessment to determine an exact diagnosis and find the appropriate treatment. Typically, a psychiatrist, medical doctor or mental healthcare professional (psychologist or psychotherapist) will diagnose ADHD based on presentation, history of symptoms, reports from family and teachers and rule-out of other disorders. Once a diagnosis of ADHD has been determined, medication combined with psychotherapy targeting behavioral management is most commonly prescribed.
In order to be diagnosed with ADHD, a person must demonstrate a strong combination of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. There are many factors clinician will consider during an evaluation. A therapist or psychiatrist can determine if symptoms are having a major negative impact in areas of a patient’s life, such as school, career, family responsibilities, relationships or finances. The clinician will take a complete history of symptoms to determine onset, severity and situational contributions. The client, parents and/or teachers may be asked to complete a symptom check list and attention-span testing may be administered during an evaluation. In addition to using standardized screening tools, a counselor may recommend a neurological exam or use a psychological test to measure other components of the individual’s presentation such as IQ, learning styles and emotional and social adjustment. For a ADHD diagnosis, symptoms need to be present for at least six months and must be present in multiple settings, such as school and home.
For children with ADHD, counselors can help with therapy by setting up behavior modification programs to be implemented at school and home. By establishing goals for academic achievement and behavior, children have a focused plan with established targets, steps and anticipated outcomes. Counselors also work closely with families and teachers to determine progress and evaluate need for program change. Behavior modification has been very successful for children with ADHD and can be beneficial both independently and in conjunction with medication. Behavior therapy reinforces desired behaviors through the provision of positive (often natural) outcomes, while decreasing negative behavior through setting clear limits and expectations and allowing for natural consequences when these are not met.
Adults with ADHD can often benefit from talk therapy (most commonly cognitive-behavioral therapy). Many adults with ADHD suffer from patterns of relationship conflict, underachievement, disappointment with poor follow-through and chronic job struggles. A therapist can help the individual develop more effective ways of structuring goals, measuring expectations and developing strategies to overcome attention obstacles.
Grace Weyrauch, at McDowell Mountain Counseling, has been assisting clients with ADHD for many years. Regardless of the level of severity, duration and current age, she will help you in developing and implementing an effective treatment plan that is individualized to suit your needs.
If you would like more information regarding counseling for victims of physical or sexual abuse, please contact Grace Weyrauch at McDowell Mountain Counseling.