Focusing on the voices of adults diagnosed with 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’

Bastable Vizzard, Siona (2019) Focusing on the voices of adults diagnosed with 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’. Other thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute.


The aim of this work was to allow the voices of adults who identified with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (‘ADHD’) to be heard and to contribute qualitative findings in a field heavily influenced by quantitative research. A further aim was to elicit therapeutic guidelines to add to and inform clinical practice in the field of counselling psychology.

Using open-ended and informally structured questions, three interviews each were held with six participants, four men and two women. None of the participants had been formally diagnosed with ‘ADHD’ until their adulthood but all identified strongly with the characteristics of the condition. Narrative research methodology was used to explore participant transcripts holding the perspectives of temporality, sociality, place and adding a fourth – relationality, in mind. Participant narratives were presented in terms of their life story, their experience of ‘ADHD’ and the impact of both on their sense of themselves.

Participants felt strongly that while the symptoms they experienced as a result of ‘ADHD’ had influenced and shaped what they saw as often dysfunctional relationships with self and others, they also acknowledged that early emotional trauma, neglect, and interpersonal dysfunction had played a part in their self-development. Their capacity to differentiate between themselves and behaviours driven by the neurological consequences of mistuned neural networks was compromised and resulted in damage to self-perception, self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth. All participants were also aware of a capacity for divergent thinking that allowed some of their personal skills and talents to be productively exercised, particularly occupationally. Based on the findings a series of therapeutic guidelines were drawn up to inform clinical practice with this group. Limitations of this work were noted along with suggestions for further research projects.

SBastable Vizzard thesis.pdf - Accepted Version

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