My highlights from IACP’s ADHD for Therapists CPD day on 23/9/23

I was at a brilliant CPD training day about ADHD and therapy on Saturday

Organised by IACP’s WNWRC (West and North West Regional Committee) in the morning, we heard from Dr Natasha Langan, Senior Psychologist, and Sarah Lawson, Trainee Clinical Psychologist Sligo’s Adult ADHD Service.

Free concrete pathway to beach

This session was about the pathway to diagnosis.

Dr Langan and Nearly Dr Lawson helped me understand more from the medical model – it’s not that they’re trying to deny people care and treatment but if it’s not ADHD, the medication won’t work and they’ll be needlessly suffering for longer with the anxiety, depression and other symptoms.

I loved their trauma sensitive approach to the meditative practices they led us through and was shocked by the map of Ireland showing so many vast swathes of the country (including County Mayo, where I live) without ANY such service for ADHD in adults.

A true colour image of Ireland

Lived experience

I spoke to my (excellent) GP several months ago and have been waiting ever since with no idea how long the wait is.

Having learned more about the lack of services in the west of Ireland, I’m even more aware that it’s likely to be a Very Long Wait.

AND that almost doesn’t matter.

Since I gathered up the courage to speak to my GP (as I’ve encouraged so many clients and supervisees to speak to theirs over the years), I’ve been (a bit) more compassionate and understanding around my own neurodivergence.

I mean, SURE, an MRI showed an ‘abnormality’ in 2013 that, when I googled it, correlated with ADHD. But back then, it wasn’t my biggest concern (I’d gone because of the aura migraines).

It was when the brain fog REALLY hit that I got concerned.

Even having been super organised since early childhood (colleagues used to laugh at my detailed handover notes when I was only going away for a few days but I genuinely worried I’d forget how to do my job if I didn’t).

Yesterday’s Embodied Wellbeing post shares a glimpse into my index cards (aka BRAIN)

The brain fog first hit when I was still in the UK and then, with my move (three moves in 5 months) to Ireland in 2019, I felt like Discombobulated might as well be my middle name. I thought it was perimenopause. Or trauma history. Or too much alcohol as a teenager. And I think it’s all of the above AND ADHD.

But ultimately, while I’m not a psychiatrist and don’t know for sure, treating myself with extra care and compassion and attempting to make more brain healthy choices is helping. As a yoga therapist for mental health and a trauma therapist, I already use many practices and approaches to support motivation, focus, concentration, self compassion, acceptance, working with parts, acceptance, self compassion etc etc.

I was fortunate enough to speak to them during the break and was delighted to hear that I’m on the right track with my self care efforts (including an almost every day yoga nidra to boost dopamine, focus, concentration and motivation as well as feeling good).

The afternoon was even better

I’d been hoping, from the time I booked, that presenters would have lived experience.

And the afternoon’s DID.

IACP therapist Niall Greene spoke first. It was incredibly moving and inspirational (and funny) to hear his personal story as well as how he’d set up support in the North of Ireland by creating ADHD Northern Ireland. It was also reassuring to feel encouraged about my own approach with my own and other’s ADHD.

Niall told several lovely stories. One was about how he kept forgetting something. Every day (I can’t remember what the item was). And he kept giving himself a hard time about it.

Until he decided to stop ‘retraumatising’ himself by compounding the stress of the forgotten thing with mental abuse.

And he stopped forgetting the thing!

Then ADHD Ireland’s National Service Development Manager, Nicola Coss spoke about all ADHD Ireland has to offer – wonderful resources!

AND, having been in the role for a while, she belatedly realised she had it herself!

Both were so reassuring and talented and HUMAN.

It was an excellent day. I AND my clients and supervisees are already benefitting.

If you’d like to explore more, there’s additional information HERE and you can read the Self Care Sunday Personal Peace post on training the brain and Monday Motivation post on extending working memory HERE

with love,

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