Counselling has long been utilised as a treatment option for treating behavioural disorders, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is a growing trend as patients and parents look for drug-free options with fewer corresponding side effects.
ADD is a condition classed as a behavioural disorder, and typically appears in early childhood before the age of 7 or 8. It is notoriously difficult to diagnose in children, as their naturally exuberant behaviour can often be mistaken for ADD. A child psychologist or paediatrician is best placed to make a definitive diagnosis in the case of a child suspected of exhibiting symptoms of the condition.
Counselling is a participatory approach to psychological problems, and can best be described as a form of talking therapy. This typically occurs with the aid of a qualified counsellor, who will facilitate self-understanding and development via offering support, advice and new perspectives on a client’s problems. Though there are many types or styles of counselling, most counsellors will typically follow a formula for consulting a client, which begins with an assessment of the patient and their background. This enables the counsellor to identify the primary issues the patient has, and formulate a number of goals for them to work toward. These are periodically evaluated and redefined, which over time may lead to the patient reaching closure with their issues. The whole process is confidential and is based on trust. Factors which may affect the length of the counselling process include the age of the client, the severity of the problem and the type of issue being experienced.
For ADD children counselling is often beneficial in a group setting, where they often feel more comfortable discussing skill and strategies with children who are experiencing the same issues. Specialist ADD counsellors also exist, who have specific experience of the condition, and can be used together with other treatment options.
Family counselling can also be beneficial. For this to be effective, all family members need to know as much as possible about the disorder. The aim is to help all of the members of the family to better understand and cope with the sufferer’s behaviour. For example, parents may be taught to use management techniques such as time out and how to balance punishment and rewards.
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