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Psychodynamic psychotherapy of ADHD: a review of the literature


Contributions of psychodynamic psychotherapy to the treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been sparse. However, mixed results of other interventions, including behavior therapy and medication, call for a systematic examination of psychodynamic contributions to treatment of ADHD children. A systematic review of the literature on psychodynamic psychotherapy with ADHD children yielded a combination of 23 case studies, research reports, and theoretical writings. Questions relevant to the practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy were the focus and included a review of psychodynamic diagnosis of ADHD, theoretical orientations of psychodynamic psychotherapy, identification of core treatment issues, clinical examples, and theoretical perspectives on therapeutic change as well as practice techniques. A review of 231 abstracts resulted from key word searches including ADHD, Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic, and Psychoanalytic. Once inclusion criteria were met, the information from the literature was organized according to categories reflecting the review's focus. Findings of the review are provided to guide psychodynamic psychotherapists in their treatment of ADHD children. Recommendations for future individual and group studies are discussed.

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