Introducing the first ADHD Couple Therapy professional guide, Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy: Clinical Interventions
The goal? Nothing short of a revolution. Training couple therapists. Teaching couples. Online. And in-person workshops. Check out ADHD Success Training.
Why This Topic?
For 17 years, I’ve received thousands of reader e-mails detailing their challenges. I’ve read thousands of detailed posts in the discussion groups I’ve led for years. As a result, I’ve heard way too many ADHD couple-therapy-gone wrong stories. The conflict. The strife. The hurt and confusion. Upset children. The futility. Ach.
As my Italian momma would say, “Basta!” (Enough!)
Years ago, in my own marriage, my husband (diagnosed in 1999) and I gave up on couple therapy. In fact, we shuddered at the thought of trying to “train” yet another couple therapist in ADHD—and paying for the privilege!
There we’d sit in the therapists’ office, telling our stories of domestic quasi-mayhem. Why? We desperately needed someone to help us solve our mysteriously intractable problems. But there they’d sit, looking puzzled or having jaw-dropping expressions. They meant well, but they were out of their depth. You see, the typical “couples troubles” strategies didn’t apply. Sometimes, those strategies exacerbate a bad situation.
To avoid more painful and expensive therapy, we doubled-down on our efforts to work things out ourselves. Yet, it was a long and sharp learning curve. We both still bear some scars. The good news for you? We figured out that learning curve so you don’t have to.
The Core Problem Until Now? Two Dismal Choices
Until now, ADHD-challenged couples have mostly faced two dismal choices:
- Couple therapy that is not informed by ADHD-specific knowledge
- Adult ADHD therapy that overlooks the needs of the other partner and the relationship
As I wrote in my first book (Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?), the wrong therapy can be worse than no therapy at all.
With our new book, we (psychologist Arthur L. Robin and I) created a model that carefully merges two sets of therapeutic approaches:
- Those proven effective for couple therapy, and
- Those proven effective for adult ADHD treatment
In other words, we based these interventions not on loosey-goosey ideas about “communication” and “be vulnerable” and “intimacy”. Instead, we combined our 50 years of professional experience with the research-based evidence about what works.
Make no mistake: We focus on the practical as well as the emotional. Both are equally important. Why? Because emotional intimacy fails to flourish (or resuscitate!) when household chores are neglected, the budget is busted, and important commitments are forgotten.
A Bit Of Back Story
Three times, the publisher asked me to produce a guide for mental-health professionals, for helping ADHD-challenged couples. Twice, I declined. I simply couldn’t afford even more pro bono work. Typically, it’s academics who write these professional guides. (You know, people with salaries and an expectation to publish.)
By the third request, my week had been particularly peppered with stories from too many couples still struggling mightily, despite weekly therapy. Sometimes for years! It only magnified the chorus I’d heard for 20 years.
That is to say, I weakened. I tentatively agreed—dependent upon psychologist Arthur L. Robin, PhD, agreeing to join me. We’ve co-presented at conferences for years on this topic. Bless him; he agreed. (You can read our bios here.)
Four years later, it’s here! With its debut, Routledge Press named Dr. Robin and me January Authors of the Month:
Top Experts Praise Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy
Top experts in the fields of general couple therapy and Adult ADHD have lavished praise upon this comprehensive, pragmatic guide.
These experts include psychologists Harville Hendrix, Douglas K. Snyder, Russell Barkley, Stephen Hinshaw, Mark Stein, and Linda Pfiffner; physicians Patricia Quinn, Lily Hechtman, Philip Asherson, and Martin Kutscher; and educator and non-profit director Andrea Bilbow, OBE. Click here to read the full endorsements and learn more about these experts.
What’s Covered In Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy?
In 250 no-nonsense pages, we cover the gamut:
- Explaining the wide variety of potential issues ADHD-challenged couples face
- Zeroing in on very practical strategies
- Healing what we’ve designated the “Adult ADHD-Focused Dysfunctional Interaction Cycle”
- Working together on chores and planning, budgets, electronic addictions, and even sexual intimacy.
- Explaining how to get the best results from medication—and how couple therapists can help in the process
We are grateful to guest contributors, including psychologist J. Russell Ramsay, who developed a couple-therapy intervention based on his CBT model for ADHD.
For a quick overview, here is the 250-page book’s Table of Contents:
Section I: Adult ADHD and Relationships
- Meet the Couples and Their Common Challenges, Gina Pera
- Principles of ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy, Gina Pera
Section II: Clinical Interventions
- Psychoeducation, Arthur L. Robin, PhD
- CBT Model for ADHD-Challenged Couples, J. Russell Ramsay, PhD
- The Role of Medication, Gina Pera and Arthur L. Robin, PhD
- Behavior and Habit Change, Arthur L. Robin, PhD
- Imago Relationship Therapy Adapted for ADHD, Carol Ann Robbins, PhD
- Co-Parenting Strategies, Barbara Easterlin, PhD
Section III: Special Topics
- Money, Gina Pera
- Cyber-Addictions, Kevin Roberts, MA
- Sexual Intimacy, Gina Pera
Conclusions and Clinical Notes
You can read more details on the topics covered at The Skyrocketing Demand for ADHD Couple Therapy .
Online Training! Therapists and Consumers
Now, we are excited to be offering online training for therapists, with NBCC CE hours (and CE from other organizations pending).
(Readers can join our mailing list at ADHD Success Training to be informed when the training is available—or follow this blog to be updated.)
Soon, we will offer soup-to-nuts training for consumers. This will help you get the most from Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy with a trained clinician. It is also designed to help you even if you cannot find or afford appropriate therapy.
For years, I’ve fielded e-mail requests for referrals to professionals. The sad truth, I have a very short list to whom I can refer in confidence. Having been in these folks’ shoes, I know the quality of therapy can make or break a relationship. Much hangs in the balance.
That’s why I have created an ADHD Professional Directory. Clinicians listed in the directory who successfully complete Level 1 training are invited to indicate that via a badge icon on their listing.
This directory will be worldwide. To learn more, visit ADHD Success Training website.
Meanwhile, I’d love to know your reaction.
Are you happy to see a new clinical guide on couple therapy for ADHD?
Are you looking forward to the online training?
(I sure am looking forward to finishing and offering it!)