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ADHD Marriage and Professional Help Part 2 - Finding the Right Therapist


Now that you have a diagnosis in hand, finding the right therapist is the next crucial step. Given the ongoing cost involved, selecting the right therapist from the outset can save you both financial resources and precious time, ultimately leading to more effective treatment and a happier marriage. My journey, spanning over 14 years and involving the search for four separate therapists, marked by repeated starts and stops, has imparted invaluable insights into the pivotal role of finding the right therapist in cultivating a happier ADHD marriage, both from a financial and emotional standpoint. Through this blog, I intend to share the lessons I've learned so that you can streamline your therapist search process. Towards the end, I'll also provide a few resources that proved helpful during our own therapist search


For me, therapists with expertise in ADHD can provide invaluable guidance and strategies to enhance communication, manage conflicts, and foster a more harmonious partnership. Through my experiences, I've come to understand the importance of these steps in finding the right therapist and why they work.


Why These Steps Work:

The steps to finding the right therapist are not just a checklist; they are a roadmap to success in improving your ADHD marriage. Each step plays a crucial role in this journey. This process empowers you to make an informed decision. Finding a therapist who understands the unique dynamics of ADHD and creates a safe, non-judgmental space is pivotal for progress. Inquiring about their treatment approach ensures that evidence-based therapies are utilized for effective results. Considering logistics, costs, and insurance ensures that practical aspects align with your requirements. My experiences have shown that these steps, can lead to transformative changes in your ADHD marriage.


Steps to Finding the Right Therapist:

  • Research and Referrals: Begin your search by researching therapists who specialize in ADHD and couples counseling. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or support groups for non-ADHD spouses. Online directories and reviews can also be helpful resources.

  • Interview Potential Therapists: Once you've compiled a list of potential therapists, reach out to them for an initial consultation. This is an opportunity to ask questions about their experience, treatment approach, and how they have helped couples in ADHD marriages.

  • Compatibility: It's essential to find a therapist with whom both you and your ADHD partner feel comfortable. A therapist who understands the unique challenges of ADHD and can create a safe, non-judgmental space is crucial.

  • Treatment Approach: Inquire about the therapist's treatment approach. Evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and couples counseling tailored to ADHD can be highly effective.

  • Availability and Accessibility: Consider the logistics of therapy, including the therapist's location, availability for appointments, and whether they offer virtual sessions if needed.

  • Cost and Insurance: Discuss the cost of therapy and whether the therapist accepts your insurance. It's essential to be clear about the financial aspects of treatment from the beginning.

Now that we've explored the essential steps to finding the right therapist, let's delve into the valuable lessons I've gained through my journey of searching for four separate therapists over the last 14 years. These insights have not only shaped my understanding of ADHD marriages but have also paved the way for more effective therapy and a deeper connection in our relationship. So, without further ado, let's dive into the lessons learned from my therapist searches.


Lessons Learned from my 4 ADHD Therapist Searches:


Lesson 1: Have Your ADHD Spouse Own the Therapist Search

One invaluable lesson I've learned in this journey is to involve your ADHD spouse in the search for a therapist. This approach ensures their buy-in, making them more likely to commit to the therapy process. When your partner is actively involved in the decision, they feel a sense of ownership over their treatment, which can be a powerful motivator. This was the case for our last therapist search. In the past, I would do all the legwork on searching for his therapist and share with him his short list of therapists after I had interviewed the therapists myself. While my husband went to those sessions, I got the sense he was not comfortable with the therapist because I selected them. This last search, I turned the tables around. I put the responsibility on him to search for his therapist. What I did was provide him step-by-step instructions one by one, so each week when we synced on his progress, he had a win to report, and we moved on to the next step. In the end, it worked out well because I no longer felt like I owned the responsibility for his well-being, and he was able to demonstrate that he can be responsible for himself.


Lesson 2: Interview, Interview, and Interview

Finding the right therapist is akin to a job interview, and it's essential to approach it with the same level of diligence. In my experience, it's crucial to interview potential therapists thoroughly. Look for a therapist who specializes in treating your partner's age range and understands their unique style to enhance the success of treatment for your ADHD spouse. In some instances, like larger practices where they have an administrative team where you won’t get to interview the therapist directly or healthcare in-network or cost restrictions. If you are unable to interview directly, there is still some value in asking the administrative team those questions as they work closely with the therapist or searching for the therapist’s reviews online through reputable sites like Healthgrades. Remember that not all therapists are equal. The key is to find a personality match and build trust. Your partner should feel comfortable and supported during sessions, making the therapist's personality and approach a critical factor in the selection process.


Lesson 3: Watch for Post-Session Reactions

After your ADHD spouse attends therapy sessions, pay close attention to their post-session reactions. This is a key indicator of whether the therapist is a good fit. If it is a good fit, you will see positive changes in their behavior. For example, when my husband came out of the first session with the current therapist, he told me it had been a good session. He was calm and positive. I had never seen him react this way after a first session with a therapist before, and we had seen three other therapists before him. Over the next few months, I noticed a much calmer, emotionally stable husband, even before he began taking ADHD medicine. He was lucky to have found a good match, but it took us over 12 years to find a therapist that my husband likes and trusts. With that said, finding a good therapist takes time, but building trust also takes time. So don’t get discouraged if it takes a few more sessions before you see a positive impact. From all the therapists we have seen, I would say in my experience, I saw some level of changes in three months of continuous visits. I highly recommend checking in with your husband monthly on his thoughts on the therapy progress. If three months have passed, and both of you are not feeling material differences, it may be time to revisit your therapist selection. It's possible that the current therapist is not the best fit for your loved one's unique needs.


Lesson: 4 Widen Your Search Beyond Local Therapists

In my years of searching for a therapist, one thing I've discovered is the ongoing struggle to find a therapist who is in-network. It often feels like they're as elusive as a needle in a haystack. Many times, we encountered therapists who weren't accepting new patients, specialized in a specific age group, or the therapist that we like is far away from our home or work. It seemed like the odds were stacked against us.


However, the rise of telemedicine, particularly due to COVID-19, has been a game-changer. It allows us to cast a wider net and connect with in-network therapists beyond our immediate area. Despite initial reservations about remote appointments, we found that the quality of care and treatment effectiveness were comparable to in-person sessions. Telemedicine has proven to be a valuable tool in our quest for the right therapist within our network, highlighting the importance of innovative solutions in our search for resources.



Conclusion:

Navigating an ADHD marriage can be challenging, but seeking professional help is a crucial step toward building a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. By understanding the unique dynamics, conducting thorough research, and choosing the right therapist, you can embark on a journey of growth and connection in your ADHD marriage. Remember, support is available, and there is hope for a healthier, happier partnership. Come back to check out part 3 of the blog on ADHD treatment.


A few resources we have used to support our ADHD therapist search:





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