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Why the Center for Effective Child Therapy (CECT) Uses Evidence-Based Treatment Methods

As we make our way through our second week of ADHD Awareness Month, it’s important to take a moment to consider why it is that we encourage people to spread information throughout this time. In last week’s blog post, we discussed the importance of reducing stigma and dispelling stereotypes, but those aren’t the only reasons to spread information. With ADHD, as with all mental health issues, it is crucial to recognize which forms of treatment have been proven to be effective and which haven’t. The Center for Effective Child Therapy (CECT) at Judge Baker utilizes evidence-based practices to treat ADHD and strives to provide our community with accurate information about which treatments work for specific disorders. This research-backed data may be the most important type of information you can share this month.

Imagine you are the parent of a child with ADHD. Chances are, even just getting that diagnosis was a challenge. But you did it! You connected with a qualified child psychologist, received a formal diagnosis of ADHD for your child, and now you can proceed ahead with accessing treatment. You visit a therapist who claims they treat ADHD and sets your child up with talk therapy sessions to discuss how your child feels and why they feel the need to “act out” in class. Your child likely doesn’t have an exact answer for this. They don’t know why they do this, they just do. This strikes you as odd, but you figure that the therapist knows what they are doing and you just need to be patient and you’ll see a change. After a few sessions, you realize something is wrong. Not only are your child’s symptoms not improving, they actually seem to be getting worse. You start to look into other therapists and continue to run into the same problem. They say they treat ADHD, but when it comes down to it, their methods aren’t producing an effect. Why is that?

The answer lies in the term “evidence-based treatment.” Simply put, evidence-based treatments are methods that have been proven to reduce the symptoms of a particular disorder like ADHD. There has been enough research and testing done to show that this method of treatment is a legitimate form of help and reduces symptoms in most cases[1]. Think of evidence-based treatments as something like Aspirin or Tylenol. A treatment method you know unquestionably produces results and is considered the go-to for a particular symptom or symptoms. You know if you have a headache, Tylenol will help your symptoms.  The key difference here is that evidence-based treatment methods for mental illnesses are far from just taking a single pill and having your symptoms go away. In fact, many frontline treatments for ADHD offered at CECT prevent or reduce the need for medication at all. That’s how much these evidence-based treatments work! But it’s still an ongoing process that involves work and commitment from both the child and the caregiver.

A lot of caregivers run into the issue of seeing therapist after therapist and not getting the results they are looking for with their child. This is often because the therapist is not using evidence-based treatments. That’s why the ability to share information during this month is so important. By sharing information about what treatments for ADHD actually work, we can potentially help a family that’s been struggling for a long time. So what are the evidence-based therapies for ADHD? The primary treatment approaches used at CECT to address symptoms of ADHD are Behavioral Parent Training (BPT), Organizational Skills Training (OST), and Problem Solving Skills Training (PSST).

Behavioral Parent Training (BPT)

BPT focuses on increasing positive and effective interactions between a parent or caregiver and their child who has ADHD. BPT is typically done with the caregivers in weekly sessions. This treatment approach centers around increasing parental attention to positive behaviors, teaching specific strategies to increase positive reinforcement and teaching safe, consistent, effective limit setting skills. Each session usually revolves around one or two specific skills where parents can practice using videos, role-playing, and more.

Organizational Skills Training (OST)

OST is a student-focused training approach that is meant to help kids with ADHD develop more effective organizational approaches for their schoolwork. This includes building vital skills such as time management and schedule planning. The goal is to help kids improve their concentration and excel in the classroom.

Problem Solving Skills Training (PSST)

With ADHD specifically, impulse control can be a huge issue. PSST aims to provide teens with the necessary problem-solving skills to make them self-reliant and to act less on impulse. This method of treatment targets disruptive or inappropriate behavior teens with ADHD may display and provides them with cognitive-behavioral strategies to combat these impulses. This includes learning skills such as effectively managing thoughts and feelings and interacting respectfully with others.  This can be taught through positive reinforcement and role-playing.

So now that you’ve got a bit more background on why evidence-based treatment methods are so important, why not help spread the word? Share this blog post with your online community or distribute some of our CECT literature locally.

Know someone who’s struggling to get the proper help with ADHD? Refer them to CECT and help them get on the right track.