Sunday, November 16, 2008


My personal experience with ADD as well with the ADD clients I coach is that tedious tasks unfortunately are accomplished not by looking at positive consequences but by the pressure of significant negative consequences. Here are some examples: Frequently I carry important articles like cell phones and credit cards in my jacket pocket and they fall out, but I usually retrieve them but after expending great effort to locate them. Obviously they should be put somewhere else, like in my pocketbook. I know this, but the consequences I experience are not all that bad. Yet, when I went to the 0pera last night, I emptied my pockets out of fear of items falling out and embarrassing me during the performance. In fact, I think I was able to get a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology which was a positive goal, but I got out because of the abusive situation. I studied hard ( if not hyperfocused) for the licensing exam out of fear of having to repeat it.

Clients with an ADHD brain style report that they often don’t wear their seatbelts in local traffic, because they fear that no accident of major proportions will happen; but they do wear their seatbelts on the highway because they can foresee serious consequences. One woman has a wallet which is always falling apart and she loses stuff. She knows she should get another one, but it takes effort to perform a tedious task, and frequently she finds items she’s looking for, so is unmotivated to change.

I have found that my clients who do not have an ADD brain style complete many tedious tasks with more patience and using strategies such as cognitive self-talk, to remind themselves of the long term benefits of their actions.

Unfortunately, ADDers are impatient and go with their feelings in the here and now, and don’t usually employ useful strategies to get things done.

For those of you ADDers who take stimulant medication, do you find that you still need coaching to accomplish tedious tasks? Many of my ADHD clients come to see me because the medication is not enough.

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