Adults with ADHD are over-represented in therapy offices, especially couples/sex therapy, because of the many ways that it can impact relationship functioning, yet there is little available for clinicians on how to work most effectively with this interesting population. ADHD is a neurologically-based information processing disorder, but it has significant psychological effects on how a person sees themselves, addresses challenges, and interacts with others. This then impacts how that adult with ADHD behaves in intimate relationships—which then impacts how their romantic partner behaves, as well, making certain dynamics more likely. Couples who have additional struggles by day can benefit all the more from the benefits of a good connection at night. As much as untreated ADHD can make the relationship and sex life much less satisfying for both partners, it tends to respond well to the right treatments.
This seminar will be based on original research conducted by Dr. Tuckman on how ADHD can impact a couple’s sexual and relationship satisfaction. He will share the results of that research, including what separates the most and least satisfied couples, how ADHD impacts sexuality, how gender intersects with ADHD, and which treatments were found to be most effective.
We will begin with a review of the symptoms of ADHD, including a deeper conceptual model of ADHD that is much more useful in work with clients. We will then cover the many ways that ADHD impacts an individual and couple, including results from Tuckman’s research. Most of our time will be spent on practical strategies that clinicians can use with individual and couples therapy clients.
This will be an engaging presentation that offers nuts and bolts strategies backed by a deep understanding of relationship dynamics, sexual functioning, and ADHD neurology.
After this seminar, attendees will be able to:
- Define ADHD
- Explain the many ways that ADHD can impact both partners in a couple.
- Explain what the research tells us about the differences between the most and least happy couples with one ADHD partner.
- Apply this deeper understanding of ADHD and couples dynamics to work more effectively with these clients to improve their relationship and sex life.
- Introduction (15 minutes)
- Relationships drive personal growth
- ADHD is an individual condition with relationship dynamics that then impact a couple’s sex life
- ADHD is all about executive functions and time (45 minutes)
- Summary of executive functions involved in ADHD
- How ADHD impacts seeing and feeling time
- Clinical implications and strategies to help clients better manage demands
- How ADHD impacts an individual’s mindset (60 minutes)
- Neurology drives psychology—common mindset traps that adults with ADHD are prone to falling into
- Why these traps make sense and strategies clients can use to address challenges more resiliently
- How ADHD impacts relationships (60 minutes)
- ADHD exacerbates universal relationship struggles
- The stereotypical dynamic of the over- and under-functioner
- The difference between preferences and limits
- The important decision of whether to change or accept
- How to create more sustainable agreements
- How ADHD drives differentiation in both partners
- How ADHD impacts sexuality (60 minutes)
- The ADHD Relationship Sex Survey—how the data was gathered
- Descriptive results—what does the survey tell us about these couples’ relationship and sexual satisfactions?
- Suggestive results—what are the happiest couples doing that we can use to guide intervention?
- How to help these couples gain the benefits of good sexual connection to build the good will necessary to do the hard work during the day
- How maintaining sexual interest in a long-term relationship drives differentiation in both partners
Ari Tuckman, PsyD, MBA is a psychologist in private practice, specializing in diagnosing and treating children, teens, and adults with ADHD, anxiety, and depression. He has appeared on CNN, National Public Radio, and XM Radio and been quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. Before moving to West Chester, PA, he facilitated a monthly adult ADHD support group for the Northern Virginia chapter of CHADD (Children and Adults with ADHD) for five years and was named Professional of the Year in 2005. He facilitated a monthly teen ADHD support group for the Chester County chapter of CHADD from 2005 – 2009. Dr. Tuckman is the author of four books and numerous book chapters, as well as a frequent contributor to ADHD publications such as Attention Magazine and ADDitude. He has given more than 400 presentations across America and in nine other countries. His “More Attention, Less Deficit” podcast has more than 100 episodes and more than two million downloads. He is the co-chair of the CHADD conference committee.