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Psychological / Emotional Therapy for Children and Adults with ADD and ADHD: The emotional and mental experience of people suffering from attention and concentration disorders and hyperactivity

Amit Adelstein - Clinical Psychologist, Emotional Therapy Center, Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel


From a young age, children and adults with attention and concentration problems, who sometimes also suffer from hyperactivity, have difficulty in meeting the challenges that modern environment presents them with. For example, sitting and studying for many hours at school, or in the case of adults, staying focused on tasks that need to be done. Their non-adaptive behavior provokes comments from those around them, and they become problematic both in their own view, and in the view of those close to them. Their confidence in their ability to be part of society is shaken, and some of them give up from the outset, and avoid dealing with challenges like learning new material or getting a new job.


These difficulties are also reflected in the emotional and mental experience with which these children and adults live. They absorb information in a manner that is not continuous, and is constantly interrupted. For example, a child sits in the classroom listening to the teacher explaining how to solve a problem involving adding fractions. They hear that they have to look for a common denominator for the denominator line, but then their concentration on what the teacher is saying suddenly cuts out. A few minutes later, they hear the teacher asking the students to solve the exercises written on the board to practice the material that has just been taught to them. They remember that they need to find a common denominator, but have no idea what to do with it, or what to do next. Such a child can feel that he or she does not belong to the environment in which they are growing up, and this results in an experience of being different and deviant.
In addition, people suffering from attention and concentration disorders have no awareness of the situation they are in when they disconnect. They have difficulty explaining why they are unable to work or study, even though it is often clear that they have been blessed with considerable ability. The fact that they have potential that they are unable to realize can be even more frustrating for people suffering from this disorder, who may also be criticized by those around them for not making enough of an effort. Adults may discover after many years that they suffer from attention and concentration disorder, frequently as a result of their child being diagnosed with the same difficulties. These people say that they were treated in the past as lazy and as failures, which caused them great unhappiness.


To this we must add the personal component of each individual. People suffering from these difficulties experience themselves not only through the impairment to their attention and concentration, but also their particular personality. For example, a child with a tendency to want to please the adults around him will be very frustrated in class, and will perhaps experience a constant fear of disappointing the teacher and losing his or her love. As a result, this child could experience considerable anxiety about going to school, and look for ways of avoiding going to school, or getting out of school assignments. Eventually the picture that emerges is of a recalcitrant child, but we must understand what lies behind this: the child is in a constant and wearing state of conflict between the desire to be a "good boy/girl", and the difficulty in paying attention to the adults around them.

Another factor affecting the they live, especially with regard to children. We must take into account the connection with parents, school, and social and cultural values, which affect the way in which the child or adult feels they and their difficulties are being treated.


It can be seen that there are many variables that need to be taken into account in order to understand the experience of a child or adult dealing with attention and concentration difficulties and hyperactivity. In the framework of psychological / emotional therapy, the therapist helps patients think about themselves in a broad and deep way. The patient acquires new insights with regard to his or her specific abilities and difficulties, as well as understanding the emotional obstacles, such as fear or anxiety that he or she faces as a result of these difficulties. In addition, the patient receives reinforcement for positive feelings of self-belief and connection with others, since the therapeutic experience involves an optimal and nurturing connection.

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  • Disabilities:

    Attention Deficit Disorder - ADD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD

  • Topics:

    Therapeutic Methods

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  • Audience:

    General public, Professionals

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