Couples and Family ADHD Coaching: Creating Stronger Bonds in Caring Relationships

ADHD compromises many skills: controlling emotions effectively, following through on plans consistently, and listening attentively—and these are just a few of the challenges. ADHD greatly affects individuals living with this condition, and the individuals who love and care for them. Understanding that ADHD can impact both the individual diagnosed with ADHD, as well as their spouse, partner or other family members, is important. ADHD Coaching for couples and families can help you identify how ADHD is affecting your relationships. It can help you, and those you love, develop supportive and caring ways of being together.

Here are some common questions we are asked about our ADHD Couples and Family Coaching Program, along with our answers.

ADHD Coaching for Couples and Family helps strengthen loving relationships that have been strained by ADHD. Our coaches will work with you as a couple, or as a family, to help you identify ways of relating that are helpful. Effective problem-solving strategies will help you grow stronger with love and affection.

Generally, an ADHD Coach is someone who helps people with ADD or ADHD achieve specific, meaningful goals. At the Possibilities Clinic, all our coaches are licensed health professionals. We have registered psychotherapists, registered psychologists, registered social workers, and registered marriage and family therapists on our Coaching Team. That means our coaches—as licensed professionals—must adhere to specific health training and practice guidelines defined by their profession. Our coaches are reflective and creative in their problem-solving, informed by their deep expertise in ADHD and what the brain needs for effective scaffolding to support success. ADHD coaching, when applied to couples and families, means support and strategies are offered to help strengthen caring relationships that are being affected by ADHD.

At Possibilities, our coaches work with couples and families using various approaches to provide support. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a common modality, since we know that thoughts, feelings, and actions are directly linked. So if your thoughts about yourself, or a partner with ADHD, are negative given years of frustrations and heartache, then how you feel and react in your relationship will be tainted by these perceptions. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is also an important component of coaching for encouraging change used by some clinicians working with couples and families.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) provides a framework for helping couples and family members form stronger and more secure emotional bonds. Clinicians who use an Emotionally Focused Therapy approach recognize that emotions are critical for producing meaningful change. Emotions are important for guiding choices and decision-making, and they can affect relationships with loved ones. Clients learn to understand what emotions they are feeling, why those emotions emerged, and how those emotions are guiding actions (and reactions) that can hurt close relationships. In coaching, clients work through negative feelings that are big and unresolved and that continue to fuel conflicts—emotions like anger and guilt and resentment. Coaching helps clients shift in stages to positive, responsive, respectful, and loving interactions. When this happens, emotional bonds with loved ones become stronger.

Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT) provides a stepwise framework over several weeks to support change. Three stages are used to help guide the process and monitor progress.

Stage 1 is de-escalation. At this stage, couples or family members identify negative emotions and interactions, and consider how these elements are contributing to cycles of conflict and distress.

Stage 2 is restructuring. Emotions and experiences are reshaped in ways that lead to supportive interactions. Clients learn to share emotions more effectively, while accepting the needs and emotions of their partners with compassion.

Stage 3 is consolidation. In this final stage, couples solve problems with resilience, collaboration, and mastery using their improved interactions and more secure attachment bond.

Coaching is tailored to your specific needs in relationships. Generally, these topics provide a larger framework for the work you will do collaboratively with your coach:

 

Understand the impact of ADHD: You and your partner, or family member, will learn more about ADHD. You might know a great deal about ADHD from the research you’ve done already! But the challenges of ADHD—like struggling to focus, regulate emotions, and follow through on tasks—are usually described in individual terms. Symptoms are rarely described in relationship terms. You’ll learn more about ADHD from this perspective, and examine how the challenges affect your own relationships.

 

Improve communication and rekindle positive interactions: When you don’t see eye-to-eye with a partner, you’ll probably bring negative emotions, and words you might regret, to your interactions. If these ways of relating continue for a while, they can become habits that are hard to break. There may be moments of joy and respect that you savour in your relationship—but these moments might be few and far between. With your coach, you’ll work with your partner to improve communication and rekindle positive moments you need and deserve.

 

Resolve disputes with problem-solving: With ADHD, words and actions can happen impulsively, and emotions can run high. When the amygdala—the brain’s emotion centre—is red hot with fury, the brain’s prefrontal cortex doesn’t have a chance to step back and problem-solve logically. Learning to calm down, so the brain’s problem-solving centre can re-engage and collaborate, is an important first step in addressing disputes. So is coming up with effective problem-solving strategies, and you’ll talk about those with your coach, too. 

 

Enhance the relationship with expressed affection and appreciation: When relationships are in turmoil, it’s tempting to focus only on challenges and trying to reduce them—whether it’s reducing frustrations, reducing conflicts, or reducing disappointments. But reducing the negatives is not enough. You need to nurture the positives, too. In coaching, you’ll address issues like expressing affection and appreciation for your partner, so you can build loving support on the upside of being together.

 

Co-parent with effective techniques: Parenting works best if parents are on the same page when it comes to caring for, teaching, and supporting their children. Families can become chaotic, and children can suffer, when there is inconsistent messaging. Together with your coach, you’ll devise strategies that you can try at home, revise, and try again to provide more effective and consistent parenting.

 

Commit to a fair division of responsibilities: For chores and responsibilities, hitting capacity and feeling overwhelmed can happen far sooner for someone with ADHD compared to someone without this diagnosis. In a partnership where ADHD is present, a fair division of responsibilities may not mean an equal division of tasks. You’ll work with your coach, and your partner, to determine a division of labour that’s fair and agreed-upon, so tasks get done effectively with appreciation and without resentment.

In Couples and Family ADHD Coaching, the core focus is on relationships. So, typically, both partners or all relevant family members are present, depending on which relationship dynamic is the focus of coaching. There may be times when individual sessions are needed with one person, but this plan would be discussed openly in the couple or family sessions before proceeding.

At Possibilities, we offer our coaching in 6-session blocks. This time-frame means your coach can focus on very specific goals that you and your partner, or family member, have. The six-session block also provides enough time to try out agreed-upon strategies to see if they work—and if they can be sustained by everyone involved—to produce positive change.  

Yes! You and your partner or family members can certainly continue for additional 6-session blocks if you have more relationship goals to accomplish! Booster sessions over time are also available if you need support maintaining the skills you have learned.

Coaching sessions typically happen once, every one to two weeks. More than two weeks between sessions will make it difficult to create positive change systematically. Check-ins with the coach at this pace gives you and your partner, or family members, a chance to provide updates to the coach, receive feedback and new suggestions, adjust approaches, and plan new ways of relating if strategies tried in between sessions weren’t as effective as you had hoped.

Yes! We see clients across Ontario through secure video sessions. Our clinicians who offer coaching and therapy services are licensed in the province of Ontario. To  be seen remotely, you and your partner, or family member, must be physically present in Ontario for all coaching sessions.

Couples and Family ADHD Coaching at Possibilities is provided by non-medical health professionals such as psychotherapists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists. As such, these services are not covered by OHIP. Your private insurance plan may cover Couples and Family ADHD Coaching as a psychotherapy service.

Yes! You do not need a doctor’s referral to start working directly with members of our non-medical psychotherapy team.

The cost of each coaching session ranges from $180 to $290, depending on the clinician providing the service.

No. We do not offer this kind of coaching support in divorce or custody proceedings, or to provide clinical or interpretive information for the purpose of legal decision-making of any kind.

For more information about the Possibilities Coaching Program, please contact us at info@possibilitiesclinic.com or call 1-833-482-5558. You can also get started right away by completing our Adult Intake Form. Once this form is received, our Care Coordinator will review your needs, match you to an appropriate clinician, and get back to you with booking options.

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