January Authors of the Month: Gina Pera and Arthur Robin

Gina Pera and Arthur Robin, authors of Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy, are our Routledge Mental Health Authors of the Month for January! Read our exclusive interview and learn more about their fantastic new book!

Since ADHD became a well-known condition, decades ago, much of the research and clinical discourse has focused on youth. In recent years, attention has expanded to the realm of adult ADHD and the havoc it can wreak on many aspects of adult life, including driving safety, financial management, education and employment, and interpersonal difficulties. Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy breaks new ground in explaining and suggesting approaches for treating the range of challenges that ADHD can create within a most important and delicate relationship: the intimate couple.

First, the situation is dire for ADHD-challenged couples worldwide. Thanks to burgeoning adult ADHD awareness, couples are seeking clinical expertise and guidance—yet rarely finding it.

Second, evidence-based interventions exist for adult ADHD, but there were no such interventions for ADHD-affected couples. We wrote this book to fill this void by blending evidence-based interventions for adult ADHD and evidence-based couples’ interventions with sound behavioral principles.

To summarize, we wrote this book so that all couples therapists can understand how poorly managed ADHD may be standing in the way of positive clinical outcomes—and then implement state-of-the-art therapies designed to enrich their practice and clients’ lives.

Adult ADHD is in no way a fringe sub-specialty. Conservatively, the worldwide prevalence rate for ADHD is about 5 percent. That means, in the U.S. alone, adults who have ADHD number in the tens of millions. Yet only 1 in 10 is diagnosed. In fact, they are much more likely to be diagnosed with conditions secondary to ADHD— depression, anxiety, substance-abuse, and even attachment disorders. Treatment that misses these adults’ core issue of ADHD, however, is not likely to have a positive outcome.

Couple therapy represents an excellent opportunity to screen for ADHD and, in so doing, increase positive outcomes. In fact, there is good reason to believe that undiagnosed ADHD is over-represented among couples seeking counseling.

Furthermore, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of the population suffers at least moderate ADHD-related impairment. That is, 23-35 million adults in the U.S. alone, not counting the impact on all their loved ones. Similar prevalence rates have been found worldwide.

Adult ADHD-Focused interventions stand to help even greater numbers of people—individuals who struggle with similar behaviors yet do not fully qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. After all, the associated traits of ADHD—procrastination, distractibility, emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, and the like—fall on a continuum in the human population.

There is hope for couples on the brink of disaster due to the poorly managed impact of adult ADHD on their relationships.

That hope, however, depends on understanding one critical point: ADHD has its basis in neurobiology. Brain-based challenges underlie many of the issues that bring these couples to therapy—problems around money, sex and intimacy, chore-sharing, co-parenting, communication, and the like.

Too often, though, neurobiology is often ignored or poorly understood, and these couples’ challenges are too often viewed as typical “couples troubles.” This core knowledge of ADHD’s neurobiological underpinnings—and the targeted strategies in this book—can make all the difference in outcome.

Perhaps this review of our book says it best, from noted couple-therapy expert Douglas K. Snyder, PhD, coeditor of Treating Difficult Couples and the Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy(5th ed.)and coauthor of Getting Past the Affair

“Couple therapy has moved well beyond interventions for intimate relationship distress. Increasingly, evidence-based extensions of couple therapy have been developed for treating emotional, behavioral, or physical health problems in one or both partners. ADHD presents a critical destabilizing influence on couple relationships that has, heretofore, been largely understudied and undertreated. This book offers a treasure trove of evidence-based interventions for helping partners to cope with this personal and relational challenge.”

Misconceptions about ADHD flood the Internet and popular media—and even quarters of the mental-health profession. We address several common myths in the book, including that the ADHD diagnosis pathologizes “normal human behavior.”

Taken by themselves, ADHD symptoms are indeed “normal human behaviors.” But it is both the number and intensity of these behaviors—combined with actual impairment in life—that makes the diagnosis.

Far from being a “new invention,” ADHD cuts across many of the problems that have historically brought legions of people to therapy, especially couple therapy. Yet, because their Adult ADHD was missed or its interventions poorly understood, these clients have rarely received—despite their therapists’ best intentions and efforts—the clinical guidance needed to make lasting changes.

Since the 1990s’ so-called Decade of the Brain, revolutionary brain-imaging methods have exponentially increased our understanding of this most complex human organ and, thus, conditions such as ADHD. To date, according to PubMed, more than 15,000 papers with ADHD or ADD as a major focus have been published since 1970.

The literature makes clear: ADHD is real, it is more common than most people realize, and its treatments can be highly effective. Equally well documented: ADHD neurobehaviors, when left unaddressed, can limit the options, the self-fulfillment, and even the physical health of the people who have it and adversely affect everyone in their spheres of influence.

We offer online training for therapists, with NBCC CE hours (and CE from other organizations pending). The first course is a home-study test, a set of 20 questions based on reading the book. Soon, we will make available full online training in the ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy Model and its specific interventions. The format is streaming video, at the student’s pace, with regular opportunity for live conversation with the authors and other experts. (Readers can join our mailing list to be informed when the training is available.)

Clinicians who pass the courses will be invited to join our Professional Directory, a service that allows consumers who are ready to begin therapy in earnest to find ADHD-Focused expertise. This directory will be worldwide.More information here: https://adhdsuccesstraining.com/professional-directory.

ADHD Roller CoasterArthur L. Robin, PhD, and Gina Pera bring a combined 50 years of expertise in adult ADHD, particularly as it affects relationships.

Arthur L. Robin, PhD, is the director of Psychology Training at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Wayne State University, and a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He obtained his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1975, was on the faculty of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, from 1975 to 1979, and has been at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit since 1979.

In addition to functioning as a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Dr. Robin has devoted his 37-year career as a clinician, educator, and researcher to children, adolescents, and adults with ADHD and related problems.

As the director of a psychology internship accredited by the American Psychological Association, Dr. Robin has pioneered innovative clinical-training techniques, particularly in the area of competency-based education. He has applied these techniques in training clinicians to work with adults and couples affected by ADHD, making numerous presentations at conferences on ADHD and relationships. He brings to the task of editing this book his extensive experience in teaching clinicians how to implement evidence-based family intervention techniques.

In 2002 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder in recognition of his lifetime contributions to children and families with ADHD.In 2007 he became a Fellow of the Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12) of the American Psychological Association.

Gina Pera is an internationally recognized expert, workshop leader, and speaker on Adult ADHD. Following the success of her first book (Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?, 2008), Pera was invited to contribute the first-ever chapter on couple therapy to the clinical guide of the field’s leading expert, Russell Barkley. With this new clinical guide (Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy; 2016), continues her collaboration with Arthur L. Robin, PhD. The pair has for many years co-presented to professionals on ADHD couple therapy. Pera has been married for 20 years to a scientist diagnosed at age 37. In her previous career, she was an award-winning print journalist. Pera obtained her Bachelor in Science (summa cum laude) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1978.

Gina Pera writes an award-winning blog, the ADHD Roller Coaster.

The authors’ extended profiles are available at the book’s website.

Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy

  • Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy

    Clinical Interventions

    Edited by Gina Pera, Arthur L. Robin

    Since ADHD became a well-known condition, decades ago, much of the research and clinical discourse has focused on youth. In recent years, attention has expanded to the realm of adult ADHD and the havoc it can wreak on many aspects of adult life, including driving safety, financial management,…

    Paperback – 2016-01-21
    Routledge