Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for ADHD
Updated: Apr 27
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that was developed as a tool to treat depression and anxiety. It is recommended by the CDC as the first line of treatment for ADHD. CBT can be helpful for treating ADHD in both children and adults, and is often used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, including medication and neurofeedback.
Behavioral therapy focuses on changing how an individual thinks about a situation in order to change specific patterns of behavior. It is a structured form of therapy where the therapist and patient set goals in order to change specific types of behaviors. Unlike more traditional forms of psychotherapy, CBT doesn’t look for unconscious reasons behind behaviors, but rather looks for an effective solution to a specific problem.
When used to treat ADHD in children, therapists generally work with both the parent/s and child in order to change behaviors and household norms. Parent training is recommended in all forms of ADHD before trying medication, but in particular for cases of ADHD in very young children (under 6).
For adults with ADHD, CBT is helpful in providing strategies to improve structure and organization. Many adults only realize they have ADHD when their children are diagnosed with the disorder. Behavioral therapy in adults can also include skills training, such as:
Time management training
Academic and vocational counseling