Behavioral Treatments

Fast Facts

  • Recent research suggests consistent use of lower doses of medication combined with behavioral therapy is the most effective therapy for ADHD. (1)
  • 98% of adults with ADHD report often having trouble with time management (vs. 8% of those without ADHD).  89% report "poor mental organization" (2)
  • In a Mass General Hospital ADHD study, 2/3 of adults who added 12 sessions of CBT to their medication treatment saw an average 30% decline in ADHD symptoms (3)

Behavioral Therapy and Coaching

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:  typically 12 to 16-week, rigorous training in thinking and self-management skills.  NACBT site includes overviews and therapist locator.  Make sure to choose someone with specific ADHD experience.  Many claim ADHD experience - make sure to ask what percent of that therapist's practice is devoted to those with ADHD.  Two resources:

Hiring a good ADHD coach is one of the best ways to get targeted advice and learn how to create new habits.  Look in my coaching professionals section 

Measure your progress with a coach.  If you aren't making measurable improvements inside of a month or two, or don't feel comfortable with the plan you have in place, consider trying someone else.

Oppositional defiance disorder (ODD) and family coaching.  This article from ADDitude is about kids with ODD, but provides a good overview of issues and characteristics of ODD that also apply to adults.  If you see ODD in your relationship, hire a professional therapist.  If you see it in your kids, consider parent and family training with ImpactADHD.


Good resources for those with ADHD include:

  • MindfullyADD - very short meditations to build mindfulness skills created by ADHD coach Casey Dixon
  • The Here and Now Habit - book about mindfulness meditation and being in the now, with access to mindfulness audio
  • Mayo Clinic meditation relaxation video.

Organizational Support & Tools

Great books about getting organized with ADHD

Bullet journals - see Melissa's blog post on this excellent memory and reminder system.  Another option is the Planner Pad.

Menu and shopping planning for the week on one, easy-to-use page at

A new productivity tool recommended by Dr. Ned Hallowell is the music from focus@will.  This is not verified with research, but also won't hurt you, and they have a no-credit-card-needed free 30 day trial at this site.

Electronic Organization Tools

Remember the Milk is a task organizer and reminder system that syncs with your calendar and can be shared with family members.  This is the program that clients seem to most like.  Another option that syncs with Google calendar, consider Springpad.

For capturing random ideas as they come to you, or if you want something simpler (essentially an electronic pad of paper) consider using Google Notepad (android) as it's simple and intuitive.  Create a habit of putting captured thoughts into paper calendar/reminder system at the end of each day.  I use this one and find it very flexible and easy. 






(1) Pelham, W. E. (n.d.). A dose-ranging study of behavioral and pharmacological treatment in social settings for children with ADHD.
     Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. E-pub ahead of print. Abstract obtained from The ADHD Report, 2014, 22(2), 12

(2)  Barkley, R. A., & Benton, C. M. (2010). Taking charge of adult ADHD. New York,
     NY: Guilford Press. p. 55

(3)  Cognitive behavior therapy improves symptom control in adult ADHD [Press
     release]. (2010, August 24).  Massachusetts General Hospital.

Last updated 4/7/14.