Hallowell Connections Color
March Newsletter )
The Power of Connection March 16, 2010
In this Issue
  • FAQs: OCD; ADHD Harm; ADA at Work
  • Sneak Preview - Connection Exercises from Married to Distraction
  • Exploring Hypnosis
  • Using Mirror Traits to Support Your Child with ADHD
  • ADHD Coaching as "Treasure Hunt"
  • In The News - Lead Causes ADHD?
  • Coming Up
  • Happy beginning of spring! This is a busy time of growth and (re)birth. And speaking of birth, today is the "birthday" of a new book, Married to Distraction - Restoring Intimacy and Strengthening Your Marriage in an Age of Interruption. It was written by Dr. Hallowell and his wife Sue Hallowell LICSW, with an assist by Melissa Orlov. We've given you a sneak peek below, and hope you enjoy it!

    We are always looking to introduce you to new ideas - this month we explore hypnosis with an interview with Brian Cohen, LICSW of the Hallowell Center. It's an under-utilized approach to managing some difficult ADHD issues, among other things.

    We also link you to a good article by Nancy Snell of the New York Hallowell Center about coaching - what it is, what makes a good coach, and who it can help. For many who struggle to implement changes in their habits, coaching can be a great tool.

    We hope that the sun is shining in your life, both physically and metaphorically. As always, please feel free to forward questions for future newsletters.

    Melissa Orlov, editor

    FAQs: OCD; ADHD Harm; ADA at Work

    Q: My 5th grader is very organized, but lately she's started to develop strange rituals that have us worried - having her desk "just so" before she'll do her homework and counting to three before she enters a new room. Should I be concerned?

    A: It's possible that your daughter has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Kids who have OCD develop many unusual rituals. They may also be bothered by repeated unbidden thoughts - often unpleasant thoughts of damage or destruction, or thoughts of a sexual or religious nature.

    OCD is due to a change in the neurochemistry of the brain, and medication is usually the best treatment. At home, let your daughter explain her behavior and, if this is relevant, any fear she may have. Gently encourage her to resist the rituals by reassuring her that they are not necessary for her safety. She should also get professional treatment.

    Q: Can you tell me what the most harmful mistake is that a parent can make when dealing with a child with ADHD?

    A: Disregarding the diagnosis of ADHD, either by not believing it or ignoring it. Too many teachers and parents say something like "I don't care if Tim has ADHD - he's going to pay attention in class or he won't pass. This is cruel folly. It is comparable to a psychiatrist insisting that a patient should "just cheer up" if he wants to continue therapy. It does not acknowledge the many obstacles in the child's way and is a position born out of lack of knowledge. One can try to force a child to try to do better, but what actually works is putting in place coping skills that acknowledge the ADHD and gives the child the tools he needs to do better.

    Q: I've gotten fired from every job I've had. I think now that because of my ADHD I am protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in employment. Am I correct in assuming that I can't be fired anymore?

    A: It is important to understand that the ADHD is not an affirmative action legislation. In employment settings the ADA protects individuals with disabilities that are qualified for the position. The ADA is meant to give people with disabilities who have the necessary education, training and /or experience that the job requires an equal opportunity to obtain that job and not be disqualified solely by reason of their disability. You should take the opportunity that this law provides you with and ask for the accommodations that you probably have not been asking for.

    Sneak Preview - Connection Exercises from Married to Distraction

    We are celebrating today's release of Married to Distraction! Geared for all busy adults, the book tackles the pressure and problems that our busy lives place on our most important relationships.

    Ned and Sue Hallowell write with passion and clarity about today's marriages and offer at the end of the book a 30 day program designed to help you improve the connection and intimacy of your marriage! These exercises are lots of fun - and put together, they provide great "connect" time that will deepen your intimacy! We thought you might like to take a sneak peek at two out of thirty of these connection exercises:

    DAY 4
    Before you meet today, think of the five smartest decisions you've made in your life. They can relate to anything, from business, to dating, to school, to friends, to hairdo's! Just let yourself reflect on what you think are the five smartest decisions you've made in your life. Write them down on a piece of paper. Bring that paper with you for time together.
    When you meet, begin by guessing what's on your partner's list. Don't be surprised if you're way off the mark. It is simply useful for each of you to see from the other's perspective.

    DAY 16
    Food. One of my teachers in psychiatry used to say, "Food is love." He was not thin.

    Almost all of us love food.

    Spend this half hour talking about how food fits into your relationship.

    This might lead you to talk about your favorite foods, your favorite restaurants, your most memorable dinner parties, or you might talk about diets and your desire to help each other lose weight, or you might talk about cooking. You might plan some meals, you might decide to change the cooking roles, i.e., who does the cooking and when. You might talk about how food brings you together, or fails to do so.

    Before you finish, make plans to eat dinner out together, just the two of you, some time in the near future.

    Married to Distraction was written by Dr. Ned Hallowell and Sue Hallowell, with contributions by Melissa Orlov. It was released March 16th.

    Exploring Hypnosis

    After 25+ years of meditation and yoga practice, Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC of the Hallowell Center finally tried hypnosis to try to understand better if it might help some of her patients. Of the experience, she said "without exaggeration, it was the deepest state of relaxation I ever thought possible". In fact, she was so impressed with the experience that she wanted to share some of what she learned with our readers. Here, she interviews Brian Cohen, LICSW.

    Brian, who can benefit from hypnosis?

    It can help patients with a wide range of problems including sleep disorders, pain, anxiety and phobic fears and athletic performance. People actively abusing drugs or alcohol, or who have a history of delusions or hallucinations are not good candidates for clinical hypnosis. It should not be used for pain management without physician approval.

    What are some myths about hypnosis?

    People often believe they may be "out of control" or "immobilized" during hypnosis. You cannot be made to do things against your will. Because trance is a state of heightened attentiveness, you are never out of control. Generally, you cannot be made to do something that you normally would not be willing to do, or that you feel would harm you or compromise your moral or ethical codes in any way. Hypnosis has few to no side effects. Occasionally, a person may find he/she has some mildly uncomfortable thoughts or dreams after hypnosis, but this is rare.

    What can people expect to gain from hypnosis?

    This depends on what they want the treatment to focus on. Reduction of anxiety, increased confidence, better performance at work or in athletic pursuits are all possible gains from hypnosis.

    Does one need multiple sessions?

    Again, this depends on the subject(s) being addressed.

    How does hypnosis work?

    Hypnosis is a process of relaxation and heightened focus. It is a selective focus, so that yes, you can still hear the phone ringing in the office but it has ceased to be a matter for your attention. Once relaxed and having entered into a trance state, the hypnotherapist can converse with you, asking questions and making suggestions, thus exploring issues of import and suggesting methods from the information you provide to resolve these issues. It can allow you to access information in your unconscious mind that you may have had limited or no access to before. The hypnotherapist can work with you to find mutually agreed upon positive results through changes in thoughts and feelings and a strengthening of self-talk and overall confidence.

    Brian, what made you interested in learning hypnosis?

    As a clinical social worker formally trained in individual and family counseling I became interested in hypnosis as an adjunctive treatment for anxiety and the treatment of problems for which the causes seemed to elude my clients.

    The period leading up to the birth of my son was very stressful. I was able to successfully engage in hypnosis to decrease my daily anxiety over time. It also allowed me to get on planes for the first time in years. No more Amtrak to Florida and back. This led me to wonder what else could be addressed through hypnosis, which eventually led to my taking a 3 day long training. After that, I was hooked. I am currently in training with Daniel Brown, Ph.D., an internationally respected hypnotherapist who is based in Massachusetts.

    Is hypnosis cost effective?
    Yes. Talking about my fear of flying did little for me. One session of hypnosis had me flying round trip to North Carolina and California comfortably. Sometimes people find they have become "stuck" in treatment, or that they have "hit a wall." Hypnosis can facilitate rapid exploration of the reasons for these difficulties and quickly help to resolve them in many circumstances.

    Brian Cohen, LICSW can be reached at the Hallowell Center at 978- 287- 0810 x119

    Using Mirror Traits to Support Your Child with ADHD

    Attention Deficit Disorder - even the name has a negative ring to it. Many doctors, intent on helping your child improve, focus on only the problematic side of ADHD - the traits that are causing difficulty. It makes sense as they want to help kids by "fixing" their deficits. The problem is, by focusing on the deficits, you leave little room for the child to understand that ADHD has positives, as well.

    After years of treating kids with ADHD, Dr. Hallowell began to emphasize the positive side of the symptoms associated with ADHD. Why? By emphasizing the positives he found that shame, fear, diminished dreams, and other problems the deficit-based medical model inadvertently caused quickly subsided.

    He recommends that parents think of not only ADHD symptoms, but ADHD mirror traits. As an example, distractibility is generally considered a negative symptoms. Your son spends his day looking out the window, and parents and teachers alike say he "suffers" from distractibility. But what if distractibility is just a turbocharged kind of curiosity? Would that be good or bad? If your son's distractibility/curiosity causes him to miss critical information in chemistry lab, then distractibility/curiosity has cost him. But if the same trait helps him make the mental excursions necessary to make an insightful contribution in class, then it has helped him.

    When parents, teachers and kids cast their ADHD traits in a neutral light by saying any trait could be good or bad, they avoid the most dangerous of all learning disabilities, which are shame and fear. Shame and fear hold people back in life, while ADHD need not do so.

    Here are just a few common ADHD symptoms and their mirror traits:
    Distractible  Curious
    Impulsive  Creative
    Hyperactive  Energetic
    Intrusive  Eager
    Disorganized  Spontaneous
    Moody  Sensitive

    Next time you and your child are faced with a problematic ADHD symptom, think about how you might neutralize it by acknowledging its mirror trait and then addressing the issue in a way that moves the trait towards the positive.

    ADHD Coaching as "Treasure Hunt"

    Nancy Snell, a professional coach with the Hallowell Center in New York, likes to think of her job as a treasure hunt - she digs up clients' gifts that have been buried for a long time. As she searches with clients for sustainable success, she plays many roles: objective observer, champion and guide.

    Practically speaking, coaching provides the external structure and support to change behavior, monitor progress, and create accountability. But there is more. A good coach helps you learn how to be kinder to yourself as he or she helps you develop new habits and move into a life beyond your dreams.

    Nancy wrote a good article about coaching for ADHD in 2007 which we have posted to the Hallowell Center web site. If you're interested in learning more about coaching, go to this link.

    In The News - Lead Causes ADHD?

    Researcher Joel Nigg ,of the Oregon Health & Science University, has recently published a paper in Current Directions in Psychological Science suggesting that lead might be one of the non- hereditary causes for increasing numbers of ADHD diagnoses. He offers a causal model for the symptoms of ADHD - lead attaches to specific sites in the brain, disrupting brain activity. For more information, go to this link.

    Coming Up

    How to Conquer Procrastination and See Results - Saturday, April 10th

    On Saturday, April 10 from 9:30-12:30, expert Robin Roman-Wright is giving a course on how to manage time if you have ADD. It will be held at the Hallowell Center at 142 North Road in Sudbury, MA. Participants in the seminar will take a Time Mastery Profile before they come to the event which will provide them with a personalized look at their time management needs and areas of strength. Wright will also help each person in the seminar create specific action steps that will help them become a master of their own time.

    The seminar will also provide:

    • a framework for understanding how time management is important to you
    • techniques that work for others with and without ADHD
    • ways to say "no"

    The fee for the workshop is $125, which includes $85 plus a materials fee of $40 for the Time Mastery Profile. To sign up, call 978-447-1496, specify you are registering for the workshop and leave your name, phone number and an email address. Registration deadline is Wednesday, March 31. Call before 5:00 p.m.

    Staying Sharp: Brain Fitness Training for Seniors
    Starting Tuesdays April 20th 1:30 - 3:00 pm

    • Let go of needless anxiety
    • Concentrate better and feel more in control
    • Maximize your memory
    • Let your brain flourish!

    Fun, friendly and affordable weekly group sessions. Non-competitive, non-medication strategies and exercises for rejuvenating your brain. Light refreshments will be served.

    Call Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC for a free, brief interview and to register at 978 287 0810 x117. Registration deadline is April 15th, 2010. Private sessions also available.

    Cape Cod Institute and Leelanau School Family Program. Both in July. The Cape Cod Institute Program is for adults and professionals who wish to learn about ADHD.

    The Leelanau School is offering two sessions led by Dr. Hallowell, each one week long, for parents and kids with ADHD to develop appreciation for the strengths and develop skills to promote their education.

    For information about both programs, go to this link.

    Quick Links...

    phone: 508-545-2250 Hallowell Connections or 978-287-0810 Hallowell Center (medical)