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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for March, 2016

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Dr. Hallowell’s DISTRACTION Podcast series

We’re thrilled to announce Dr. Hallowell’s DISTRACTION Podcast series – #1 in Self Help on iTunes!! http://apple.co/1MzUlqD

“Audio is my go-to medium (audiobooks, podcasts, et al) so I subscribed as soon as I received the email yesterday. The fist podcasts were very insightful. Because I listen to them at 2x speed, I can consume more than I can by reading. Thanks for producing these!” G.L.

Struggling with distractions in this 24/7, crazy-busy world? Renowned expert Dr. Ned Hallowell offers practical solutions on how to focus and regain control in today’s “digital world” in his first episode, “An Exploration of Distraction“.

Please Download and Subscribe!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Dr. Hallowell’s ADHD Family Summer Camp

Time for camp! The Dr. Hallowell ADHD Family Summer Camp 2016

I’ve been running with Rob Himburg and my wife, Sue, for 10 years now.

Spanning just under one week, Sunday evening until Friday noon, July 17 – July 22, this camp is a one-of-a-kind experience.

This camp is indeed a great idea. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. That credit goes to Rich Odell, a brilliant and innovative educator who came up with the idea back when he was director of the Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, Michigan.

He said to me, “Ned, why don’t we create a week-long camp for kids who have ADHD and have their parents come too? You could meet with the parents every day in the morning, and Rob Himburg could meet with the kids.” Instantly, I loved the idea.

Rob Himburg, then on the faculty at Leelanau and now head of his own school, is a master teacher, a kind of pied-piper whom kids of all ages adore. He meets with them in the morning and devises some kind of fun activity–cooking, canoeing, puzzle-solving, hiking–that has build into it strategies for improving executive function, one of the achilles’ heels in the world of ADHD.

Not knowing what to expect, 10 years ago we convened our first group. It was an immediate hit. The secret to its success, and what makes it unique, is that the parents come with their children. Not only do the parents get to have time with their kids, but the parents also meet other parents who are dealing with the same issues, while kids meet other kids who also have the fascinating trait called ADHD. Every year, the families make friends with each other and by the time Friday arrives, no one wants to leave.

The experience is rooted in my strength-based approach to ADHD. I see ADHD as a complex condition, full of positives and negatives, strengths and weaknesses, victories and frustrations. I tell kids that having ADHD is like having a Ferrari engine for a brain, but with bicycle brakes. My job is to help strengthen the brakes so they can win races.

Seeing ADHD not entirely as a disorder but rather as a complex combination of talents and areas of weakness helps both the person who has ADHD as well as the people who love him or her get into a more positive frame of mind and feel more motivated and inspired to do the work required to reach the best outcomes.

The week at the camp reinforces this message every day. The parents group is especially powerful because parents know how often their children have been misunderstood, labeled, and made to feel small and less-than. At the camp they receive a fresh and more accurate picture, that highlights the strengths and talents, while acknowledging the downside and frustrations as well.

The parents love it because they see the real child, the full child and because there is time for people to tell their stories in some detail. While I provide a wealth of didactic material, the heart of the parents’ sessions are the stories they tell, the tears that fall, the laughter that fills the room. Each year people comment on how inspiring and uplifting the parents’ sessions were, as well as practical and educational.

My wife joins me one morning and gives a session on ADHD in couples. Her session is always one of the most highly rated. She now also helps us produce and run the week.

Also starring in the show is the spectacular scenery of Glen Arbor, Michigan, especially Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, as well as the Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor, where most people find their accommodations, and where the morning sessions start out. And the fine restaurants and movie houses of Traverse City are only a 45 minute drive away.

If you’d like to learn more–and I am so eager to share this treasure with you that I hope you will–go to our website, hallowellsummercamp.com, or, for a more personal touch, call my wife, Sue, at 781-820-0881. She loves the camp as much as Rob and I do, and she is eager to tell you all that you’d like to know, including the kind of first-hand knowledge you can’t really get from a website.

As many of you know, I believe the key to pretty much everything of value in life is found in connection–with people, with ideas, with beauty, with whatever grabs your interest and your heart. This unique week is guaranteed to be a week of connection like few others you’ve ever experienced.

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Dr. Hallowell’s 8 Step Strength-based Approach to Treating Adult ADHD

Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, practicing child and adult psychiatrist, founder of the Hallowell Center, and former instructor at Harvard Medical School, goal is to help people master the power of ADHD while avoiding its pitfalls. Whether for children or adolescents, the treatment of ADHD should be comprehensive and include a wide range of possible interventions provided over the long-term. The following eight-step plan for treating adults and children and with ADHD, will show you how to find the buried treasure by approaching ADHD as a gift that is often difficult to unwrap.

Each step need not be implemented, but each should be considered:
1. Diagnosis, which should include identification of talents and strengths.
2. Implementation of a five-step plan that promotes talents and strengths: Connect, Play, Practice, Mastery and Recognition.

Connect Connectedness is the first—and most important—step. Creating a connected life takes time and maintenance. But a balanced well connected life leads to a kind of joy that hard times cannot easily strike down. The connected individual, of any age, feels safe and secure enough to go to step 2, which is Play.

Play When you play, your brain lights up. This is where you could find joy for the rest of your life, so take note when it happens. You will not be able to play at everything you do. But when you do find an activity you can play at, an activity where your brain lights up, you have found gold. The best way to mine the gold in the ADHD brain-or in any brain-is to play. Practice Once you find an activity in which you can play, you want to do it over and over. This is called practice. Practice that emerges out of play is practice you want to do. You can feel enthusiastic about encouraging practice and discipline if you understand and believe one basic fact: practice and discipline build the bridge between play and mastery.

Mastery: The Great Motivator From practice comes mastery. The feeling of mastery and the wish to experience it again is the key to self-esteem and confidence, as well as motivation.

Recognition: Although mastery is its own reward, another crucial element reinforces mastery while also leading onto a wider feeling of connectedness. That element is Recognition, the feeling of being valued by others, especially others whose opinions the person respects.

The five steps constitute a cycle, one step naturally leading to the next. Once started, it can continue for a lifetime, like a giant flywheel of joy, feeding off its own momentum.

3. Education about ADHD. Learn what ADHD is, and what it is not. A diagnosis of the mind, like ADHD, must be fully understood if it is to be mastered and made good use of. At its best, ADHD can become an asset, rather than a liability, in a person’s life. But, for this to happen, the person has to develop a deep appreciation for how ADHD works within him or her.

4. Changes in lifestyle that promote a healthier mental and physical life: Sleep, Diet, Exercise,Prayer or Meditation and Positive Human Contact

5. Structures and other non-medical interventions that augment your lifestyle and needs.

6. Counseling of some kind, such as coaching, psychotherapy, career counseling, couples therapy, family therapy.

7. Various other therapies that can augment the effectiveness of medication or replace the use of medication altogether, such as an exercise program that stimulates the cerebellum, targeted tutoring, physical exercise, or nutritional or occupational therapy

8. Medication (only if desired)
Adapted from Delivered from Distraction, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., John J. Ratey, M.D., Ballantine, 2005

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Note From Ned

Greetings, my friends. Now that we have one more hour of daylight, I guess it is safe to say that we have weathered winter, but given what happened in New England last winter, I don’t want to jinx us and speak too soon!

In these notes that I write each month (which I hope you enjoy!), I try either to reflect upon some idea or mood, or to recommend some book, product, or activity I’ve found particularly useful or appealing. As I write, I always try to imagine you, which is of course difficult because I can’t see you, and I don’t even know how many of you are actually joining me on these “notes from Ned.”

I would like very much to see you, to have each one of you over to my house for a coffee or a glass of wine, to sit by our hearth with our Jack Russell, Ziggy, to introduce you to my wife, Sue, if she happened to be at home when you dropped by, as well as our three kids, Lucy, who is now 26, Jack, who is 23, and Tucker who is 20. I’d love to chat with you about everything under the sun, to get to know you and invite you to get to know me, to have a long enough time together that we could begin to go deeper than the surface and provide each other with the comfort that comes from connection and friendship. I’d like to tell you about the book I am working on right now (a memoir, a new direction for me), the worries I have about today’s world (likely similar to yours), and the joys Sue and I find in cooking. How we love to cook! Sue is far better at it than I am, but we both love to do it. I’d like to learn what you love to do, what your worries are, and what projects you might be working on these days.

I’d love to know the particulars of your life, and tell you about the particulars of mine. For example, I drive a 2007 Chevy Suburban, which totally embarrasses Sue, because it is so eco-toxic. Still, when the kids were younger, it served us well. I’d like to tell you about how I feel at age 66, how it seems to me that I just turned 40 a few weeks ago. I’d like to tell you about each one of our children in great detail, complete with photographs and endless anecdotes, much to their annoyance. I’d like to tell you about my own childhood and college years, about watching Bobby Orr skate up ice, weaving and changing speeds as if on wings, the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen (except, perhaps for Bill Russell or Tom Brady); about discovering Samuel Johnson when a sophomore in college, through lectures delivered by the legendary Walter Jackson (Jack) Bate, who channeled Johnson twice a week in Emerson Hall; about the red ribbon around a straw hat that drew me to Sue first of all; about the bullet hole in the window of my first psychiatry office when I was a resident in training at the old Massachusetts Mental Health Center; about carving a plump roasted turkey with Dr. Ellen Tabor on the day before Thanksgiving on one of the inpatient units at that same hospital; about my youngest child, Tucker, when I asked him please to stop growing, replying, “But Daddy, I can’t control my heightness!”; about the debates Sue and I have each night before we go to sleep regarding the temperature of our bedroom; about saying goodbye with Sue and our kids on Christmas Day of 2014 an hour before my older brother, Johnny, died; about my oldest brother, Ben, and what a great character he is and how glad I am he is still alive; in short (or long) about all the details that combine to create my reality.

And how much I’d love to hear the same from you!

But that’s impossible. Or is it? And this is the crux of this note: by stating my desire, and by providing some details, by embarking on the journey, perhaps I can activate in you the same desire, leading you on the same journey, inclining you, perhaps, to peruse a few of your details, and to feel the uncanny warmth of connection they provide, connection not only to your past and your present, but to the larger community we all partake of.

Since as long as I can remember, this has been my lifelong wish, a wish that was intensified by a chaotic childhood, that we would all come together; that we would all beam each other vibes of warmth, trust, forgiveness, and joy; that we would, even without knowing each other or seeing each other face to face, join in that invisible network that can touch us all if we let it, and provide for each other, here and now, the peace, security, and well-being we all yearn for so deeply.

It’s in our power to do it, you know. It truly is. Every day. It’s within our reach, if we use our imaginations. Give it a try, won’t you? Take a moment now, and join me at my imaginary hearth. Ziggy will climb up on your lap and give you lots of love while I go to the kitchen to fetch our refreshments.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

A Step-by-Step Guide to Adult ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Edward Hallowell
Free Webinar Replay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Adult ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment

Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, practicing child and adult psychiatrist and founder of the Hallowell Centers, will guide webinar participants through a step-by-step approach to recognizing, diagnosing, and treating symptoms of ADHD in adults.

Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, practicing child and adult psychiatrist and founder of the Hallowell Centers, will guide webinar participants through a step-by-step approach to recognizing, diagnosing, and treating symptoms of ADHD in adults. In the process, he will also help participants master the power of ADHD while avoiding its pitfalls. When an ADHD diagnosis emphasizes what is wrong with you, shame, fear and self-doubt take root and grow. However, when the treatment of ADHD uses a strength-based approach to ferret out your hidden strengths and emphasizes what is positive, then you can see yourself in a positive light.

Click here to Play the webinar and download the slide presentation of A Step-by-Step Guide to Adult ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment, plus get more information from ADDitude.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Multi-modal Treatment for ADHD

How Can Therapy Help?

Multi-modal Treatment for ADHD
At The Hallowell Centers, we offer multi-modal treatment for ADHD. Numerous research studies have shown that a combination of medication and behavioral therapy (including parent training, behavior therapy with parent-child together, individual or family psychotherapy) are the most effective treatments for ADHD. We also offer non-medication treatments that have been shown to be helpful (ie. Brain training, neurofeedback).

Parent Training
Parenting a child with ADHD requires some special knowledge and skills- “conventional wisdom parenting” often isn’t effective for children with ADHD. Understanding the nature of ADHD is very important for parents- it helps to make sense of the challenging behaviors. Once parents understand the behaviors through an “ADHD lens”, they are empowered to design interventions to address the behaviors.

In Parent Training, the therapist trains the parent to design their own behavioral interventions. Parents will learn to:
– Use structure to set the child up for success
– Identify common antecedents to problematic behaviors, and develop ways to prevent
– Prompt a child effectively
– Use positive reinforcement and/or incentive systems to increase desired behaviors
– Use consequences effectively to decrease negative behaviors
– Coach their child on pro-social behavior
– Work collaboratively with their child’s school
– Improve communication at home and reduce negative parent-child interactions

For older children and adolescents, it may be more effective to have the parents and child together in behavioral therapy. Involving your pre-teen or adolescent in the problem solving process is best for increasing compliance and is good modeling for problem solving in general.

Behavioral therapy involves identifying a plan to address desired behavior, trying out the plan at home, and following up in the next therapy session to evaluate the plan and problem solve as needed. Through this process, you will learn what works best for your family in addressing behavior, and you will hopefully feel empowered to return to these strategies when needed.

Individual Child Psychotherapy
ADHD sometimes co-exists with other disorders, such as anxiety and mood disorders, and psychotherapy may be recommended to address these co-occurring concerns. Therapy can be helpful in addressing negative self talk, practicing social skills, or coping with difficult life events. Emotion regulation is often a challenge for a person with ADHD, so learning to identify emotions and express them safely is a common goal for psychotherapy. It is also important for a child with ADHD to know there are adults in their corner, and a therapist can be one of those supportive team members who “get” your child. Psychotherapy focuses on a child’s strengths and helps them to develop and appreciate those strengths further. Even though a child might participate in individual therapy, there is always a family component to the therapy through periodic family sessions, or parent-only sessions.
Family Therapy

ADHD, and behaviors attributed to ADHD, can affect the entire household. ADHD has a strong genetic link, so often there is more than one family member with ADHD. Family therapy can be helpful to reverse negative patterns in a family and to increase positive interactions between family members. Family therapy might focus on education about ADHD, structure at home, effective listening and communication strategies, and/or learning and practicing de-escalation skills.

Shelley MacLeod LICSW Boston MetroWest Hallowell Center, 978 287-0810
Shelley MacLeod is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She graduated cum laude from Simmons College with a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology. She also received a Master in Social Work from Simmons College. Ms. MacLeod began her career in community mental health, where she worked for ten years. Her work over the years has focused on providing individual and family therapy for children, adolescents and adults, and is skilled in creating strength based treatment plans in collaboration with clients. She provides a warm, safe environment for clients to work towards their goals. Using cognitive-behavioral approaches, in combination with play therapy and art, Ms. MacLeod helps clients with ADHD, anxiety, and mood disorders. She has enjoyed conducting social skills groups for children and coaching parents on raising children with ADHD and other challenges.

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