ADHD coaching is a proactive way to combat the symptoms of ADHD by collaborating with an expert who understands ADHD-related obstacles and has the tools to help you get your ADHD under control.
ADHD is commonly treated with medication, but an increasing number of patients are choosing to seek out other forms of therapy that include coping and management techniques through counseling and coaching. ADHD therapy can be combined with medication, used as an alternative to medication, or used as a way to reduce or eliminate medication over time.
ADHD coaching is a hands-on, interactive approach to understanding, managing, and effectively living with ADHD. The foundation of attention-centered coaching is built on a unique understanding of the ADHD person’s brain and characteristics, so people with the ADHD brain type respond well to the process and techniques.
Case Studies for Alternative Treatments for ADHD and ADD
The following ClearView case studies help show the real-life process and results of attention-centered coaching as an alternative treatment:
ADD Coaching Creates Brain-type Awareness
“Susie” was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder as a teenager after demonstrating some of the classic characteristics of the ADHD brain type, including impulsiveness, disorganization, and difficulties with time management. She was prescribed a non-stimulant medication to help her manage her behavior, which provided some help for a number of years.
As an adult, Susie was quite successful in her professional life. She was consistently promoted by her company and became a top-level executive with a lot of responsibility. She also sat on the board of an active nonprofit organization and managed a busy personal life. But Susie increasingly struggled with certain elements of ADHD as she gained responsibility and authority at work. She sought additional types of ADD management in order to address these issues, and met with her psychiatrist and a psychologist.
When Susie came to ClearView, she was looking for more of a hands-on approach to ADD management, feeling that her visits with medical professionals had been focused on rehashing past experiences and feelings and not focused enough on helping her performance in the here and now.
Susie was beginning to struggle at work and wanted a practical approach to ADD management that would begin immediately. She wanted to address escalating problems with staying organized, meeting deadlines, a lack of self-confidence, and frequent episodes of feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
Identifying the Saboteur
Coaching sessions with Susie began as many sessions do, with identifying the saboteur. The saboteur is the part of our thought processes that can become a roadblock to reaching our goals. It’s the part of our thinking that instinctively tells us what to do and gives us the fight or flight reflex that raises adrenaline and gives us a heightened sense of awareness when we need it for protection. But Susie’s instincts were keeping her in fight or flight mode more and more frequently, often when she didn’t need to be on guard, causing her to feel out of control. These feelings are common among people with ADD.
Recognizing the saboteur allows clients to start gaining awareness about their actions, and is a way to begin to practice a certain kind of “mindfulness” that many clients learn to use. Susie worked toward using mindfulness to witness the processes taking place in her brain. She began to recognize the rush of adrenaline that put her on guard, but learned to stop and ask herself whether she was really in danger. In many instances, she was able to use mindfulness to look at the situation from a new perspective. Mindfulness teaches us that it’s our reaction to experiences that creates the real experience for us in life. This was a powerful lesson for Susie.
The Power of Breathing.
Another common technique we like to introduce early in the coaching process is deep breathing. Deep breathing is a powerful tool that calms the brain and subsequently promotes mindfulness by simply turning the rest of the brain off for a few minutes and allowing it to take a well-earned rest.
By taking slow, deep breaths for a count of 6, holding them for a count of 2, and then breathing out for a count of 8, we begin to immediately focus on our breathing and disallowing other thoughts from entering the mind. This technique can be practiced any time, any place, for any duration to help calm an overactive brain. Susie learned to practice deep breathing when she began to feel overwhelmed or out of control, in order to bring her back to an awareness of her mind’s activity.
Susie Succeeds with Alternative ADD Treatment
At work, Susie was responsible for delegating work to others, but was having a hard time letting go of the smaller tasks related to projects she was responsible for, feeling as though she had to take care of everything on her own. As a project manager, she would feel a sense of danger when it was time to pass work off to others, and her basic instincts would tell her to do the work herself, rather than risk someone else not getting it right.
Susie’s coach challenged her to begin delegating tasks – small ones at first that became progressively larger. Using mindfulness and deep breathing helped she become a more effective executive and manager. She has ultimately become even more productive at work by passing these smaller tasks off to others and thereby freeing up time for her to manage additional projects. She was able to see that what her instincts were telling her to protect wasn’t always worth protecting, and that sometimes we can and should risk giving up control of a task because of what we might be able to gain.
Susie attends ongoing coaching sessions at ClearView and is working toward addressing additional ADD-related concerns at work and in other areas of her life. While Susie still has a lot of goals to work towards, her greatest success is her new sense of confidence and a new-found pride in herself gained from what she’s already been able to accomplish.
*ClearView recognizes and respects confidentiality and the client-coach relationship and takes this aspect of ADHD coaching very seriously. In order to uphold the client-coach relationship and protect our clients’ right to confidentiality, the client name is kept anonymous, and certain personal information has been changed in the following case study.