What does therapy for ADHD look like?

Quick Summary: Main Points, No Filter

✅  Therapy for ADHD combines skill development with emotional support. Therapists address core challenges like time management and organization through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

✅  The program is available in individual or group sessions, with optional add-on sessions for hyperfocus. There's a focus on building foundational skills like time awareness through practical exercises like estimating task durations and using planners effectively.

✅  Therapy acknowledges the emotional impact of ADHD and works to improve emotional regulation alongside practical skills. This two-pronged approach aims to improve overall well-being and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression that often co-occur with ADHD.

Side note: The summary above was created by AI.  It is kind of helpful when you read long text to generate a summary first and then be on the lookout for key points as you read. Warning though, the AI generated summary was not 100% accurate so it’s always important to double check and not rely on AI completely.

Don’t feel like reading the rest? It’s cool, I can give you more details in a consult. Schedule one here.

Want to get more deets? Full article below for a more in-depth discussion.

In therapy for ADHD, we identify the common struggles that show up in adults diagnosed (officially or unofficially) with ADHD, then we identify evidence-based practices to address them. We do this in group, individual, or hybrid settings with homework between each session to reinforce the skill. The sessions are designed to strengthen the muscles of executive function. It is like executive function or ADHD coaching while navigating through the emotional elements that so often come with it. 

Why not address the skills portion and leave the emotional stuff out of it?

Well, there is a high rate of co-morbidity with ADHD and anxiety or depression. In therapy for ADHD, we can coach and boost the executive function skills while being aware of the emotional components that come into play. As a therapist skilled in ADHD executive function struggles, not only will I be able to coach you through skills strengthening, but I will be able to keep my eyes and ears on the influence of the emotional barriers that keep you stuck. We can identify workarounds to overcome these barriers by changing the way we think about them. This is where the cognitive behavioral synergy happens!  We look at how our thoughts, emotions, and actions interact with and build off each other. When our thoughts build off each other this can start us on a shame spiral or it can lead to clarity and     direction, you choose. We can re-focus and gain traction in what we actually want to accomplish in our lives.

Sounds like something you might be interested in? Schedule a consult here.

I mentioned in my last blog that the first step is to make peace with the diagnosis of ADHD and commit to growth. Making peace with the diagnosis of ADHD allows us to give ourselves grace and step out of the shame spiral or self-doubt that consumes us.

Here is a breakdown of what therapy for ADHD looks like:

Step 1: Choose your format (all options are weekly)

  • 60 minute Group
  • 60 minute Group + 30 minute individual hyperfocus session
  • 60 minute individual sessions

Both group options come with the opportunity for community support. You join a group of like-minded individuals for accountability in between the sessions. The community is private and the only folks in the community are the faces that you see each week in the group session. The community is optional, but it does provide a space to develop support and accountability to complete the homework in between sessions.

Step 2: Choose Your Start Date

This is particularly important if you are joining a group session. The people you start with are the people you work with for the duration of the group. If you miss a session due to an emergency or planned time off, you will have access to the community discussion and the take home notes. If you elected to have the 30-minute hyperfocus option you can use that time to clarify anything that didn’t make sense after reading the take home notes.

If you opted for the individual sessions, we have a bit more flexibility with the start date and scheduling, but it is still important to show up weekly to build on the skills that you learn and keep your momentum going.

Step 3: Choose Your Payment so therapy is affordable to you (That’s right, pick your price from the list below)

Wait, what? Here’s my thoughts about sliding scale services for mental health. I hate working with insurance companies. I don’t like their approach to therapy treatment and I don’t like having a third party involved in our work. Threes a crowd. This is like a Julia Roberts/Pretty Woman situation. You decide who you work with and how much. Though maybe this isn’t the best analogy for therapy (eek) I am open to a more appropriate one!

Before you figure out how much you can pay, I ask that you think of the pricing tiers in this way.

1. Consider your budget and how much you can afford each month. If you approach this as a cheap way to get therapy, then you will probably get what you pay for.

2. Consider if you have out of network benefits with your insurance company. If you do, I can give you documentation to get all or a portion of your fees reimbursed. So, you may come out of pocket to meet your deductible but then afterwards you might get reimbursed for some of what you have paid.

3. Regardless of your finances, consider paying the most you can afford. This is an investment in yourself and an opportunity to pay it forward. In addition to my full fee clients, I also work with folks referred to me from non-profit organizations such as Pro Bono Counseling Project, Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, and Unstoppable Joy. Paying the upper level amount you can afford will also support my non-profit work with others.

Enough blah blah blah, how much does therapy for ADHD cost?

Here is the breakdown, depending on the level of services you choose. You will be automatically billed weekly, unless other payment arrangements have been established.

60 Minute Weekly Group ($30-$50)

60 Minute Weekly Group + 30 minute individual hyperfocus session ($90-$130)

60 Minute Weekly Individual Session ($150-$200)

Are you ready? Let's talk more about it and get started!

What executive skills do we learn in CBT for ADHD?

The first skill that we work on is time management. In the first weeks of CBT for ADHD, we look at time awareness and scheduling. If you have ADHD or struggle with executive skills, you may already be aware of the idea of time blindness. It can become difficult to track the passage of time therefore making it difficult to understand and grasp how long tasks take to complete.

Then, we build on the foundational skills acquired or refined in the time management portion to move onto getting organized. Once we have refined our time management and organizational skills, we are ready to plan and execute a project. 

How does all of this sound? 

The most exciting part is the idea that at the end of the course you will have skills needed to plan and execute a project. Depending on the project, you may even be able to achieve it during the program.

The First Task: Learn Time Awareness and Scheduling

In the CBT for ADHD group, we learn to start with the basics to get the foundational skills refined.  There is a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear that outlines and supports this idea. The small habits that we start can lead to a huge change in the trajectory of our life. With CBT for ADHD it starts with time awareness. We practice (and then practice some more) estimating how long certain tasks might take. We go home with practical advice on ways to keep an eye on time as we go about our day.

A common example I use is the idea of “getting ready” for work or to leave the house. There are multiple steps that happen in getting ready and a lot of times we just consider one of those steps. You might just factor the time it takes to get in the shower, but what about packing lunch, making coffee, or feeding the dog/kids?  The twenty minute shower and getting ready might turn into an hour or more, but without that awareness of time passing, we feel constantly rushed or surprised at how fast the time has gone by. 

The Second Task: Find a planner system that actually works

Another foundational skill we learn is how to use a planner.  The first part is to decide which planner to use. We figure out which method works best for you and then you stick with it.  In the course, we go through the options for a planner, we figure out the requirements for an effective planner, and then make a choice. We then incorporate the use of the planner into the subsequent sessions.

I can’t tell you how many ways I tried to organize my appointments and schedule and I kept failing. The problem was trying to use the pretty calendar that goes on the wall in my kitchen as a “command center”. The problem was I would have the October calendar up during Christmas. That was not working at all. There was too much work in updating the calendar every month. Plus, I could only see one month at a time.

Another problem with this system is that the calendar is at home and it’s hard to make appointments at the doctor’s office without knowing what was on the calendar on the wall in my kitchen.  Seriously, we all know good and well we aren’t going to go home, consult the calendar in our command center, then call the doctor, and wait on hold to schedule an appointment.

✅     Time Awareness

✅     Scheduling system that works

What else?

Included in the time awareness section is support on tackling your to-do list. We learn to create more efficient ways to manage our time. We practice finding those time cracks in our day and increasing awareness of what takes up our time.

What is the benefit of strengthening executive skills?

For many with ADHD, the use of a planner (digital or analog), along with to-do lists, leads us to feel more accomplished in our day to day lives. When we feel more accomplished, we are then better able to stay focused and on a task. Symptoms of anxiety and depression often make ADHD symptoms worse. This is where the cognitive behavioral synergy comes into play. By addressing time management, we feel better, which reduces the emotional symptoms, which helps to improve our time management skills. Working on the executive skills helps improve the emotional barriers, and working on the emotional barriers helps improve the executive skills. This is also why it is beneficial to have a therapist and certified ADHD service provider as a facilitator. We are trained to assess and treat multiple aspects of the diagnosis.

Have you read enough? Ready to get started?

If you are ready to talk more about ADHD, would like to understand about options for treatment, or just need a place to sort some shit out. Schedule a consult with me. We might be a good fit. I can hook you up with some resources and knowledge. We can decide what format for therapy and skills coaching is right for you and get started. Let’s fine tune your executive skills and get the shit done that you want to get done.