National Institute of Mental Health
Adding psychotherapy to treat ADHD can help patients and their families to better cope with everyday problems.
is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help a person change his or her behavior. It might involve practical assistance, such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events. Behavioral therapy also teaches a person how to:
monitor his or her own behavior
give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way, such as controlling anger or thinking before acting
Therapists may teach children social skills, such as how to wait their turn, share toys, ask for help, or respond to teasing. Learning to read facial expressions and the tone of voice in others, and how to respond appropriately can also be part of social skills training.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
can teach a person mindfulness techniques, or meditation. A person learns how to be aware and accepting of one’s own thoughts and feelings to improve focus and concentration. The therapist may encourage the person with ADHD to adjust to the life changes that come with treatment, such as thinking before acting, or resisting the urge to take unnecessary risks.
Family and Marital therapy
can help family members and spouses find better ways to handle disruptive behaviors, to encourage behavior changes, and improve interactions with the patient.
Education and Training
Children and adults with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents, families, and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed. For school-age children, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family before a child is diagnosed. Parents and children may need special help to overcome negative feelings. Mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it affects a family. They also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.
Parenting skills training (behavioral parent management training)
teaches parents the skills they need to encourage and reward positive behaviors in their children. It helps parents learn how to use a system of rewards and consequences to change a child’s behavior. Parents are taught to give immediate and positive feedback for behaviors they want to encourage, and ignore or redirect behaviors that they want to discourage. They may also learn to structure situations in ways that support desired behavior.
Stress management techniques
can benefit parents of children with ADHD by increasing their ability to deal with frustration so that they can respond calmly to their child’s behavior.