A psychoanalytic contribution to the understanding and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

by Rainwater, James B., Ph.D., UNION INSTITUTE AND UNIVERSITY, 2007, 193 pages; 3255212


This study investigates the question: can a psychoanalytic perspective contribute to the understanding and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children? ADHD is understood as a biologically based brain disorder that causes inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behavior in children. While biological, psychological, and social factors are known to contribute to the development of many forms of psychopathology, the literature supporting ADHD strongly emphasizes biological etiologies. This dissertation expands the scholarly discussion of ADHD by using aspects of psychoanalytic theory to develop an etiological explanation of the disorder that emphasizes unconscious mental processes. Three conceptual concerns with biological explanation of ADHD are examined, and a psychoanalytic theory of symptom formation is proposed using Freudian and Kleinian concepts of neurosis and defense. The distinct philosophical bases of the biological and psychoanalytic models are discussed as central to the importance of the inclusion of psychogenic factors in the understanding and treatment of ADHD. Theoretical contributions and clinical implications are illustrated in the presentation of a single case study of a child diagnosed with the disorder. Psychoanalytic therapy and psychoanalysis are recommended as important treatment options for children diagnosed with ADHD.

Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsDevelopmental psychology; Clinical psychology
Publication Number3255212

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