~ Article by DrL.Michael Hall and Shawn Dwyer ~
Coaching and training often brings us in close contact with people who have (or think they have) Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For nearly 25 years, our analysis is this- People are more likely to have intention deficit rather than attention deficit. True ADD is based on a brain deficiency and that is actually rare.
What we usually call ADD is simply the lack of wanting to do whatever one has attention deficient about. The child does not want to study grammar or math. The adult does not want to read up on self-help or pay attention to a conversation that seems irrelevant. So test it. Ask about what the child or the adult can pay attention to, focus on, and get completely absorbed in. “What do you love?” “What do you find most engaging? Video-games, baseball, sports cars, etc.?” If there is even one place in life where a person can stay focused- then that person does not have attention deficient disorder. Instead that person suffers from a lack of interest
Recently, in the March/April 2020 edition of Psychotherapy Networker, Edward Hallowell, a Harvard Medical School faculty member for 21 years was interviewed in an article titled, “A Vast Difference: Depathologizing ADHD.”
He has written the book, Driven to Distraction and he believes that ADHD is “a blessing rather than a curse.” He also does not think that the problem is attention deficit. “… the deficit disorder model is simply inaccurate.
This is not a deficit of attention at all.
“It’s an abundance of attention. The problem is controlling it.”
He described the brain of high energy people as “having a Ferrari engine for a brain with bicycle brakes.” ADHD is a combination of distractability, impulsivity, and restlessness. It is power without control. Talk about a reframe! Power without control. And if that’s what it is, the solution is to “add control” so that the power can be directed and focused.
“The flip side of distractibility is curiosity, which is a tremendously powerful force. The flip side of implusivity is creativity. What is creativity but impulsivity gone right? You don’t plan for creative ideas; they just pop. They come with disinhibition. So they depend on having
brakes that aren’t too strong.” (p. 60)
Here are some more reframes.
ADD is impulsivity which is the basis of creativity, “creativity is impulsivity gone right.” This provides a positive spin on what is commonly labeled a problem and something bad. But that does not help. Labeling is often just a more sophisticated form of name-calling which is a cognitive distortion. And this is probably the case with most cases of ADHD. Labeling invites a person to adopt a negative self-identity which only complicates the problem as it layers another level of negative framing over the experience.
“What kid wants to be told he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
… It’s pathologizing, stimgmatizing…”
So how can you handle ADHD?
The article by Dr Edward Hallowell focuses on education, on helping people understand the actual structure of what we call attention deficient.
“It begins with education, with reframing. It also begins with wanting to understand it. … It’s about finding the right places for people to thrive, which involves trial and error…. Physical exercise helps a lot, as do sleep, nutrition, coaching, and understanding the components of executive functioning.”
It is very, very rare for a person to actually have a brain disorder that involves attention deficient. Ninety-five percent of the time the problem is a lack of intention- the person has not set his or her intentions on the values of a given experience. And as a Meta-Coach you can resolve this by repeatedly running the Intentionality Pattern with a person. Run it repeatedly until the person builds up a set of energized intentions and aligns his attentions so that they serve his intentions. You can also run the Empowerment Pattern so that the person takes ownership of her mental and emotional powers and her verbal and behavioral powers.
ADD and/or ADHD does not have to be a curse.
Therefore it can be transformed into a blessing -power under control, attention driven by intention and when you have that, you can then direct the person to put it into use and develop one or more “genius” states wherein that person has all of his or her resources available for living life at its fullest. Do that as a Meta-Coach and you are on your way to change the world one conversation at a time.