ADHD Couple Interventions — Gina’s Nine Short Videos

GINA PERA ADHD and Relationships Videos - Half a Million Views and Counting

Viewing just one of these nine short videos on ADHD couple interventions could create a pivotal “a-ha” moment. A shift in perspective about your relationship. Including your relationship with yourself!  But nine altogether?  Perhaps game-changing. And in less than 60 minutes.

Picture it: Toronto, 2009, I’m giving my first conference presentation on ADHD and relationships. Russell Barkley, PhD, is the other keynote presenter.  Talk about pressure! But apparently I did okay. In fact, people still write to me — after viewing the videos at my YouTube channel.

Thank goodness conference organizer CADDAC, the excellent Canadian non-profit devoted to ADHD, filmed the hour-plus talk and allowed me to share it.

I decided to break out the roughly 1-hour talk into shorter videos, each focused on a “hot button” topic

Until now, these videos on ADHD & Relationships have lived on YouTube, gathering at least half a million views.  I figure it’s time to let ADHD Roller Coaster readers know about it!

As the co-author of the only ADHD couple therapy clinical guide endorsed by preeminent experts, I know the importance of practical strategies!

Here’s how the presentation on ADHD and Relationships breaks down into nine topics:

  1. Introduction (13:48)
  2. The Effect on the Partners of Adults with ADHD (10:45)
  3. Five Strategies for Change (13:24)
  4. Top 10 Challenges—and Solutions (2:11)
  5. Communication Tips (2:06)
  6. Improving Time Management (4:24)
  7. Getting Things Done (1:39)
  8. Eliminating Clutter (3:45)
  9. Curbing Impulsivity (4:10)

Adult ADHD Couples (Video 1): ADHD’s Triple Whammy

We dive into the intricate links between ADHD and relationships, starting with my personal journey.

My husband was diagnosed in the late 1990s— but only because I happened to read a library book on neuroscience and made connections.  His ex-girlfriend is a neuro-surgeon. He has a PhD in molecular biology. He did his post-doc at a famous neurological institute. Me? I have a B.S. in print journalism.  But only this dogged journalist figured it out.

This presentation is where I first introduced the concept of “ADHD’s Triple Whammy”. It’s a core concept to my work ever since.

This metaphor — a roller coaster ride with three disorienting loops — explains how ADHD diagnosis later in life involves more than symptoms.  Rather, there is also “emotional baggage”—that is, a lifetime of distorted interpretations, negative mindsets and poor coping strategies.  The other partner has their own Triple Whammy. And guess what? So does the ADHD Relationship.

Adult ADHD and Relationships (Video 2): The Effect on the Partners of Adults with ADHD

Navigating ADHD and relationships can feel like a roller coaster ride. The initial thrill can mask significant challenges. Or else, challenges go misinterpreted.

As routines settle in, miscommunications emerge and memory lapses become chronic. The struggle to manage the chaos can be overwhelming.

When you don’t understand what’s happening, common counterproductive responses include denial and minimization of ADHD symptoms—and ongoing attempts to cope.

As time goes on, unrecognized symptoms and poor coping mechanisms on both sides create a negative feedback loop, intensified by blame. From procrastination to co-parenting challenges, the potential impact of ADHD on relationships can go deep below the surface, influencing communication, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and overall relationship dynamics.

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Once we know what is happening—and the proven strategies to get your roller coaster riding more smoothly—we can do things differently.

Adult ADHD and Relationships (Video 3): Five Strategies for Change

In navigating the complexities of ADHD and relationships, I detail five transformative strategies for change. (Originally, Arthur L. Robin, PhD, a veteran psychologist in the field of ADHD, identified these core goals.  In 2016, Dr. Robin and I produced the first clinical guide for ADHD couple therapy, based on the evidence of what works for Adult ADHD and what works for couples.)

  1. First and foremost, optimize ADHD education and medication, advocating for a focused and personalized approach to treatment.
  2. Adjust attitudes, acknowledging ADHD’s impact and fostering responsibility for actions.
  3. Learn new skills and practicing new habits to support Executive Functions
  4. Cultivate romance and inject moments of fun, remembering that relationships extend beyond the realm of tasks and timers.
  5. Focus on resolving the “Five Hot Spots”:
    1. Communication
    2. Organization
    3. Time Management
    4. Memory
    5. Impulsivity

(Video 4): ADHD Couples’ Top 10 Challenges—and Solutions

I review the top 10 challenges faced by individuals with ADHD in relationships. Derived from a survey conducted by Dr. Robin, the top 10 include (listed in order of severity from highest to lowest):

  1. Doesn’t remember being told things
  2. Says things without thinking
  3. Zones out in conversations
  4. Has trouble dealing with frustration
  5. Has trouble getting started on a task
  6. Underestimates time needed to complete task
  7. Leaves a mess
  8. Doesn’t finish household projects
  9. Doesn’t respond when spoken to
  10. Doesn’t plan ahead

(Video 5): Communication Tips

Navigating any relationship requires mastering communication skills. That goes triple for ADHD-challenged couples. For example, for the ADHD Partner:

  • Recognize the importance of active listening, valuing your partner’s opinions and avoiding the urge to formulate responses instantly enhances connection.
  • Embrace the idea of requesting additional time for thoughtful responses, understanding that quick answers may lead to misunderstandings.
  • Incorporate relaxation techniques before crucial conversations, such as going for a walk, has proven effective for many ADHD couples.

And for the other partner:

  • Be attuned to your partner’s attention span and communication style.
  • Choose the right timing and location for discussions.

(Video 6): Improving Time Management

Strategies for couples include:

  • Resisting the temptation to engage in additional tasks before leaving the house or transitioning between activities is emphasized to prevent time from slipping away.
  • Using memory prompts such as sticky notes and alarm reminders on phone or computer
  • Collaboration in updating to-do lists and reviewing priorities regularly
  • Avoid conflicts, such as the “Saturday morning fight syndrome,” which can arise due to the lack of structured time during weekends.

(Video 7): Getting Things Done

As with the other “hot spots”, I offer “Yours, Mine, and Ours” strategies. That is, new habits and routines for the adult with ADHD, suggestions for the other partner, and collaborative strategies to “get things done” as a couple.

(Video 8): Eliminating Clutter

For the ADHD Partner, we identify basic strategies, such as:

  • Assign clear-cut places for all of your personal belongings.
  • Schedule regular “pick up” times to deal with household clutter.
  • Train yourself to avoid avoidance when it comes to clutter and putting things away.
  • When de-cluttering, focus on only one room or portion of a room at a time.

As a Couple:

  • Work as a team on organizing each part of the home, using labels when helpful
  • If necessary, hire a professional organizer to help you set up an ADHD-friendly organizing system.
  • Develop a routine for retrieving and processing the mail.

(Video 9): Curbing Impulsivity (Including Irritability)

Crucial strategies for ADHD-challenged relationships include:

  • Identify sources of frustration and approach problem-solving with a creative, collaborative mindset.
  • Be willing to set aside emotions and blame.
  • Adopt a logical “just the facts” approach.
  • Moreover, hone communication strategies, use humor to diffuse tension, and continue to learn how to create a supportive environment for both partners.

My Other Resources For Adult ADHD Couples (and Singles)

My work has earned praise from preeminent experts in the fields of ADHD and couple therapy.  if you found this presentation helpful, you can learn more through my four groundbreaking works. The most recent:  Online training with more short, highly focused videos on taking charge of Adult ADHD, as a couple or an individual.

Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?

Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy: Clinical Interventions

Counseling Couples with ADHD (a chapter in the clinical guidebook produced by Russell Barkley, PhD)

New – An online program available to you— in your own space, at your own pace


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