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Therapist does not believe in ADHD

Therapist does not believe in ADHD2014-12-13T13:36:30+00:00

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  • #126323

    Post count: 2

    This is my first post, though I have been a member for a while now.   I have a puzzling problem, but it is not what you might think based on the title I gave it.

    Clearly I need to find another therapist, since he cannot possibly validate my reality and give help based on that.  What I really want to know is the following – what research do I show him to present convincing scientific evidence that ADHD exists?

    The reason for my request is that he is a good therapist who has helped me and my wife quite a lot over the years, and he says that he personally saw the “creation” of ADHD and knows that it is a false paradigm (based on his personal experiences).  He is also a past-researcher, so his reasons to dismiss the research I presented are such things as “small sample size,” “a priori assumptions,” etc.  I am NOT trying to convince him, but he directly asked me to send him research that supported my outrageous claim that ADHD exists.

    I have sent him links to research by NIMH, the CDC, CHADD, a CNN interview with Dr. Barkley, and the DSM-5, which last year categorized ADHD as a Neurodevelopmental Disorder.  He dismissed these.

    Any ideas?  I know he will not be swayed, but I want to give him the most objective and convincing scientific evidence possible.

    I am a psychologist of 30+ years and do a lot of work in the testing and treatment of ADHD in children and adults, and I keep up as much as I can on the research.  I was diagnosed just 2 years ago (Inattentive Type), so I have both personal and professional knowledge.  Frustrating!!



    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    @BSPearson, it’s very distressing to hear that your soon-to-be-former therapist is being so willfully ignorant of the proven scientific facts.

    You’re a psychologist with many years of experience with ADHD, so you have the knowledge and experience to be able to confidently challenge this psychological luddite.  But most of his other patients don’t. He’s harming these very vulnerable people whom he’s supposed to be helping.  Therefore, I feel that he ought to be reported to his professional association for malpractice.

    “Malpractice” is a very strong word, but most of what we now know about ADHD was learned in the past 10 years. And in “ADD…and Loving It?!”, Dr. Anthony Rostain says, “What I learned about ADHD in medical school, we would now consider to be malpractice.”


    Post count: 430

    If you are going to fire him, why waste the time on trying to argue with him? You will not change his mind and he will not change yours. Move on and spend your precious time in places that you can make a difference… like organizing your sock drawer, or cleaning the bathroom.


    Post count: 2

    Thank you for your responses!


    Larynxa (love the name!), he is not engaging in malpractice as there has been no damage done, just opportunity lost.  But I understand your sentiment.  He should not treat people with ADHD and should inform people who approach him for treatment of his beliefs.  That is a part of “informed consent” that is required in our profession.

    shutterbug55 – I have had that same thought, but I feel compelled to at least put the research in front of him – not to convince him, but to give him the information to challenge his beliefs.  You are right in that it most likely will not work, but he is a good man and deserves the information.  So do his future patients.

    I think the key is to look for scientific (quantitative) research such as SPECT scan and FMRI scan studies, as well as the genetic research.  I will just have to seek it out.

    If anyone else has any ideas or thoughts, please pipe in.


    Post count: 10

    I don’t have any sources to offer. I only wanted to comment to acknowledge what you are doing is good, in my view.

    Anyone working as a therapist or anything in mental health industry who “doesn’t believe” in ADHD is unfit to practice on any level with people.

    For them to arrive at a conclusion of, “I don’t believe in” something without looking at scientific evidence, studies, research….. this persons approach to constructing a lens which they “believe” things through; is moronic… and it is damaging to other peoples lives.

    I wrote back to a therapist who saw me for about 6 months after I dropped out of university, after repeating the first year twice and unable to do with course work (undiagnosed ADHD)….. And I was desperate to study, but couldn’t do it…. and it was so disappointing and depressing to drop out. I went to see this therapist for 6 months….. and even though my ADHD symptoms are glaringly obvious…. this therapist never said a thing about ADHD.

    I wrote back to this therapist 5 years later, after I got diagnosed. Really polite… and just asked this person to confirm that they know what ADHD is, and they can identify it in clients. As it was a great struggle for me, to have spent another 5 years without that diagnosis and the treatment that is now changing my life.

    This therapist wrote back, “Unfortunately I cannot get into email discussion with anyone who is not a client”. Pretty much just that, and “good to hear you feel you are making progress in life. Good luck”.


    I wrote back to my university…. I was in and out of the learning support department, getting assistance writing essays and course work… they tested me for dyslexia and all sorts… couldn’t find out what was the issue was.

    To me…. this is unacceptable for this still to be like this (this is around 2007 kind of time)…… that cost me around $30,000 USD to drop out of that course….. can I not expect a learning support department in a major UK City to know about ADHD ?

    Again, I wrote really friendly email….. and was essentially treated as though I had walked into their building… and asked a question…. then after waiting a couple of hours… someone comes down stairs smiling at me, “Hi, nice to meet you. Yes.. yes…”… smiling at me and placing a hand behind my back and walking me in a direction, smiling, “yes, yes, ok, that’s nice.. yes”… then pushing me out of the door, “Ok, bye bye!”….

    So…. I thought a little bit.

    Then I wrote back 🙂

    And I said something along the lines of, “Hi, I didn’t like the way I was treated when I last wrote to you. I feel offended that you have marginalised me in such a discriminative way, due to my minority group human variation in cognitive function. I asked some very simple and polite questions, which were met with dismissal and unreasonable responses. My initial intentions were to just know that other students do not have the same unnecessary challenges which I faced. I had not intended to make statements to media publications, take any legal action or inform representatives of anti-discrimination groups in universities. Mostly because I assumed my requests were simple and there was no need to create something time consuming that could potentially last for months. However: 1. You have now offended me, and made me feel bullied and marginalised. 2. I feel passionate enough about wanting to know that your learning support department can identify ADHD symptoms in students, to save a lot of unnessassry suffering in peoples lives; that if you do not give me answers to this simple request, I will gladly take on the task of giving you and your department a lot of extra work over the next few months, including what negative press I can get you, and I will also explore what legal action is possible to reclaim damages I incur.”

    Then they wrote back and assured me that they now knew what ADHD is… and that they are able to identify it and where appropriate, recommend seeing a doctor for an assessment.

    That’s better 🙂

    Before it was just, “Unfortunately we are not doctors and cannot diagnose students.”…. And I said, “I am not asking you to diagnose students……”… and went back and forth with them…. but they were just smiling and pushing me towards the door, to get rid of me.

    Urrgh…. anyways….

    I think what you are doing is good. Many people told me, “get your own oxygen mask on before being concerned about others!”…… Well, maybe that’s the correct way for some. But in some situations for me…. I will always be “putting my oxygen mask on”… and if this journey can’t involve looking out for others too…. and working towards being a support and help for someone else some day too….. then I that takes a lot of drive away from me… in making changes I need to make.

    Sorry…. long comment… I can’t stop when I ought to. Nice one ! 🙂


    Post count: 32

    Hi bspearson, this sounds to me like a testosterone situation and has nothing to do with research  – you are being intellectually challenged, like an old fashioned duel, which to me has nothing to do with an understanding of ADHD. This is professionally personal. ADHD is  well documented – read the work of Dr Brown as a starting point. You know this……why are you engaging with this man’s games, unless perhaps you find yourself enjoying the ‘game’?

    Everyone who contributes to this forum is awash with ADHD, sharing struggles, questions and tentative good news – many are made very vulnerable by having ADHD, myself included. This is not the place for you to ask via your ‘therapist’ ( and most of us experience real ones at some point or another ) whether ADHD exists. You are having a coffee morning conversation at real peoples expense.

    Read more,  drop the testosterone, and walk away from any ignorant person who challenges the reality of ADHD.

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