[Skip to Content]

Therapy for ADHD


What Is Therapy for ADHD?

Therapy is part of the treatment for most teens diagnosed with ADHD. If you go to therapy, you will have regular meetings with a therapist to help with the problems that ADHD can cause.

In therapy, people learn skills that don't come naturally because of ADHD, like listening and paying attention better.

Some people with ADHD also get another type of therapy called occupational therapy. This helps when things like balance or handwriting are difficult because of ADHD or a learning disability.

Treatment for ADHD usually includes medicine. Medicines boost the brain's ability to pay attention, use self-control, and fidget less. Medicine works best when people also have a therapist to teach how to use these improved abilities.

Why Do People Need Therapy for ADHD?

Therapy helps teens with ADHD do better in school and at home. For example, people learn how to:

Some people need therapy to help ease difficult emotions caused by ADHD. For example, people might lose confidence or feel like they are disappointing others. Some teens become depressed, anxious, or frustrated.

When people learn skills to manage ADHD, they do better. Therapy also helps them feel happier and more confident.

How Does ADHD Therapy Work?

In ADHD therapy, people learn by doing. A therapist will share activities and ideas that focus on building the skills the person needs, like good study habits, emotional awareness, or mindful breathing.

In ADHD therapy, a positive relationship with the therapist helps a person feel encouraged and supported as they learn.

What Happens in ADHD Therapy?

At the beginning, your therapist will talk with you, ask questions, and listen to learn more about how ADHD affects you. Together you will make goals for what you want to improve.

In therapy sessions, you and your therapist might:

How Long Do People Do ADHD Therapy?

How long therapy lasts will depend on your goals. Most of the time, a therapist will want to meet with you once a week for a few months.

How Can You Help Yourself?

Having ADHD isn't a person's fault. But there are things that you can learn in therapy to help things get better.

Here are some ways to build on the work you will do in therapy:

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: December 2017


Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995- The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.

Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com