Hypnotherapy: A game-changer for women with ADHD?

One of the most strange and fascinating things that happened during the COVID lockdown was the realisation that so many women in mid-life were discovering they had ADHD traits.


Hitherto, ADHD has always been seen as a 'boy' thing, diagnosed in the past by predominately male psychologists, with descriptions of symptoms that they had described in male children and adolescents. There was little interest in determining what happened to boys with ADHD when they turned adult as boys were expected to lose their ADHD traits as they matured and went through puberty. These boyish ADHD traits were seen to be an excess of masculinity: impulsivity, distractibility, hyperactivity, boisterousness, and inability to concentrate. Girls did not present in quite the same way and ADHD was presumed to be rare in female children.

Why are we realising, at this moment in time (post-COVID pandemic), that ADHD is not only significantly present in female children but also in some women at every stage in their lives? What is the connection with the COVID lockdown?

Undoubtedly many factors contribute to this. Being cooped up with a hyperactive child for months on end has led to people seeking an ADHD diagnosis for their child (and accessing medication). In doing so, perhaps they realised that they also had ADHD traits and that they were more like their child than they had realised.

Lockdown itself led us into introspection, and removing the scaffolding of a daily work routine forced us all to time-manage on our own. We discovered difficulties that had been masked by our daily routines once we were responsible for our own scheduling. For some, working from home was a joy, for others a daily ordeal of distraction, procrastination, missed deadlines and chaos, creating anxiety and frustration.

ADHD treatments

Medication can be the answer – although, if you are a mature woman, it is very difficult to get a diagnosis and a prescription for medication. By our mid-lives, most of us have life hacks that have allowed us to work around our difficulties with executive function, with varying success.

There are therapies that aim to address behaviour and teach coping strategies – CBT being an example. Outcomes of ADHD CBT programmes are, at best, inconclusive and treatment periods can be many months. There are long waiting lists for CBT and women with ADHD may find it as difficult to access CBT as to obtain medication.

How can hypnotherapy help?

I am a solution-focused hypnotherapist and I believe that hypnotherapy is potentially a game-changer for those with ADHD. Solution-focused hypnotherapy brings together techniques of hypnosis or trance (which is guided relaxation), and solution-focused questioning. It draws on techniques developed in CBT, neuro-linguistic programming, and solution-focused therapy.

This form of hypnotherapy is very different from Freudian analytical psychotherapy. Freud believed that hypnosis could access the subconscious, wherein lay suppressed desires, feelings, and emotions that had accumulated from past experiences. He believed that the subconscious influenced the conscious part of the brain causing illness and psychosis.

By connecting to this subterranean dungeon of our darkest and buried thoughts, these subconscious influences would be revealed and lo, healing would take place! Does it work? There is little evidence that recovering a repressed memory has any positive outcome. Freud’s patients tended to undergo treatment for very long periods, years in some cases, and by no definition could they have been described as “cured”. 

In contrast, solution-focused hypnotherapists do not use hypnosis for regression to the past (or to past lives!). Instead, we work on the premise that, once we disconnect from our conscious brain, which is filled with anxieties, fears, and negative thoughts, our subconscious knows what we want, what we need to do, and the best path for us to follow.

Using hypnosis, inducing a very deep and focused state of relaxation, the client’s subconscious will work on resolving the issues. Hypnotic trance is very similar to REM sleep – and to day-dreaming – and uses the same theta frequencies of brainwave.

It's just as we wake up from a good night’s sleep with a solution to yesterday’s apparently insurmountable problem or lose focus in a daydream and then, as if by magic, we have a 'brain-wave'. We emerge from a hypnotic trance, not just in a very relaxed and calm state of mind, but with a change of focus and of perspective. We will not necessarily be conscious of what has changed but it will gradually become apparent. It has the potential to bring about great changes in our lives. 

Lack of executive function

Our problems with ADHD are linked to our lack of executive function – procrastination over tasks that we know need to be done, distractibility, inability to properly prioritise and carry things through, and so on. The point is that we know what we need to do, and this is the frustrating part that neurotypicals fail to understand.

I have noticed that several of my clients are probably members of the ADHD tribe, usually high-powered, professional women juggling lives of great complexity. Some of my clients have sons diagnosed with ADHD, a marker that they may have it too, as it is strongly heritable. Not daughters, of course, as any diagnosis of ADHD will probably be made later (if at all), though there are signs that awareness of inattentive or combined (inattentive and hyperactive) ADHD in school-age girls is improving.

Hypnotherapy is a 'brief' therapy

Whilst solution-focused hypnotherapy is never a panacea, for a motivated client, good outcomes with tangible and measurable improvements can be expected after a brief series of sessions (six to 10 on average).

I believe that it has great potential for those with ADHD by improving the sense of being in control over actions, thoughts and choices. It can improve self-esteem which will result from a better sense of control, and self-worth will follow. Better control will lead to a greater feeling of competence and, ultimately, if life is easier, then stress and anxiety will be reduced. There are no age constraints, and it is safe for both children and adults, who can experience great benefits.

Online sessions for hypnotherapy

Sessions can be carried out online. Discovering we could do this, and that it was just as effective, was one of the benefits of lockdown! Online therapy can work very well, and I have found some clients prefer this to a face-to-face session with a therapist.

If you'd like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can support with ADHD, please get in touch.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Milborne Port, Somerset, DT9 5DW
Written by Margaret Capon, BSc(Hons) DSFH HPD AfSFH regd NCH regd
Milborne Port, Somerset, DT9 5DW

My name is Margaret Capon.
I am a solution-focused hypnotherapist based at the London Road Clinic in Milborne Port in Somerset.
I also work online.
I specialise in anxiety-based conditions (especially medical conditions exacerbated by anxiety) I also teach self-hypnosis.

I can be contacted at info@sansomehilltherapy.com

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