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What Discourages ADHD Clients and What Empowers Them, Session 6-2
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What Discourages ADHD Clients and What Empowers Them, Session 6-2

Terry Huff, LCSW

Approximately 4.4% of the adult population has a diagnosis of ADHD, and yet ADHD researchers and experts believe that most adults with the disorder have not been diagnosed. That ADHD usually persists into adulthood was not officially recognized until the 1990's. Consequently, those who lived for years with undiagnosed ADHD, and their family members, had no way to understand why they were so different from their peers. Explanations of their particular challenges - difficulties with activating, sustaining attention and effort, estimating and tracking time, remembering, prioritizing, organizing, and regulating emotions - were spuriously associated with character, motivation, and intelligence. This session will highlight the subjective experience of adults with ADHD and its relevance to professional organizers. It will help you avoid inadvertently eliciting embarrassment and defensiveness, and help prevent resistance and premature termination by your ADHD clients. You will learn: 1. Why adults with ADHD are well-defended and sensitive to perceived judgment. 2. What content of communication from well-meaning professional organizers could risk stimulating feelings of shame associated with histories of criticism, underachievement, and strained relationships. 3. Why your ADHD clients may misperceive a planned collaborative process as an imposing process: anticipating an authoritarian judge of an incompetent client. 4. How to help ADHD clients accept their neurological difference and be able to start where they are. 5. How to validate strengths without sounding like a parent or teacher whom the student must please—recognizing your clients' resourcefulness, creativity, and playfulness.

  • identify content of their communication that can cause ADHD clients to feel overwhelmed
  • Identify content of their communication that can unintentionally elicit feelings of shame
  • Help ADHD clients understand and accept why it is hard for them to get started and sustain effort toward achieving their organizational goals
  • Help ADHD clients with simple strategies for activating and sustaining effort
  • Tap into the resourcefulness and creativity of their ADHD clients and work around their typical aversion to perceived imposition

Terry Huff, LCSW

Terry M. Huff, LCSW, author of Living Well with ADHD, is a psychotherapist in the Nashville, Tennessee area specializing in the treatment of adults with ADHD. He is the founder of ADDNashville, a support group for adults with ADHD that he has led for eleven years. He has worked in mental health and developmental disabilities since 1974 in Tennessee and California. Mr. Huff has been providing psychotherapy services since 1989 in the Nashville area. He has taught as an adjunct professor at The University of Tennessee College of Social Work. He has been a frequent guest on a local CBS-affiliated television talk show for over fifteen years and is a popular speaker on the topic of adults with ADHD. Since 2007, he has conducted workshops for couples living with ADHD. Mr. Huff is a member of CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD), ADDA (the Attention Deficit Disorder Association), and NASW (the National Association of Social Workers).


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