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Dr Hallowell ADHD and mental and cognitive health

A resource about ADD, ADHD, and mental health




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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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