After four years researching and writing, it’s here. 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. In-person seminars.
You should see my desk. It’s a mess! But a grand mess. [Update: I have been making progress! Check out ADHD Success Training
Why This Topic?
For 17 years, in reader e-mails and the discussion groups I’ve led for years, I’ve heard way too many ADHD couple-therapy-gone wrong stories. The conflict. The strife. The hurt and confusion. The 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!
We’d be telling our stories of domestic mayhem—desperate for someone to help us make sense of it and to solve our intractable problems. And they’d sit there, looking puzzled. Or with their jaw-dropping expressions.
To avoid more painful and expensive therapy, we doubled-down on our efforts to work things out ourselves.
It was a long and sharp learning curve, and we both still bear some scars. The good news for you? We rode that curve so you don’t have to.
The core problem boils down to this. 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” blah blah blah and “be vulnerable” blah blah blah. Instead, we combined our 50 years 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 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.
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 I January Authors of the Month:
Top Experts Praise Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy
Thank goodness, 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 as well as 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, from explaining the wide variety of issues these couples face to zeroing in on very practical strategies—or understanding ADHD, for healing what we call the “Adult ADHD-Focused Dysfunctional Interaction Cycle,” for working together on chores and planning, budgets, electronic addictions, and even sexual intimacy.
We are grateful to guest contributors, including psychologist J. Russell Ramsay, who developed a couple therapy model for 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
Chapter 1: Meet the Couples and Their Common Challenges, Gna Pera
Chapter 2: Principles of ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy, Gina Pera
Section II: Clinical Interventions
Chapter 3: Psychoeducation, Arthur L. Robin, PhD
Chapter 4: CBT Model for ADHD-Challenged Couples, J. Russell Ramsay, PhD
Chapter 5: The Role of Medication, Gina Pera and Arthur L. Robin, PhD
Chapter 6: Behavior and Habit Change, Arthur L. Robin, PhD
Chapter 7: Imago Relationship Therapy Adapted for ADHD, Carol Ann Robbins, PhD
Chapter 8: Co-Parenting Strategies, Barbara Easterlin, PhD
Section III: Special Topics
Chapter 9: Money, Gina Pera
Chapter 10: Cyber-Addictions, Kevin Roberts, MA
Chapter 11: 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
We are excited to be offering online training for therapists, with NBCC CE hours (and CE from other organizations pending).
In the coming year, we will make available full online training for therapists in the ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy Model and its specific interventions. The format is streaming video, at the student’s pace, with regular opportunity for live conversation with the authors and other experts. (Readers can join our mailing list at ADHD Success Training to be informed when the training is available.)
We will also offer parallel training for consumers. This will help you get the most from Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy with a trained clinician. Even if you cannot find or afford couple therapy, you will benefit from the online instruction, especially combined with a private support-group forum.
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 we are creating a Professional Directory. Clinicians who pass the courses will be invited to enter the directory, which will connect consumers who are ready to begin therapy in earnest with Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy expertise.
This directory will be worldwide.
There will be no other resource like it.
Existing professional directories are simply “pay to play”—that is, anyone willing to pay a fee receives a listing. In truth, consumers have no idea if that clinician truly possesses ADHD expertise. With this directory, consumers will know that the clinician has at least read Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy and passed a professional test on its content. Then, when the training is ready, the listing will indicate if that clinician has completed the training.
You can find more information at the ADHD Success Training website.
I’ll be sharing more with you in the coming weeks.
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!)