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Nowell Neuropsychological Services, Inc. - David D. Nowell, Ph.D.
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Join me at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium!
Loss, shame, and Adult ADD
Q: I'm an 8th grader working on a paper about procrastination. What can you tell me?
Curious, compassionate, and nonjudgmental
Boomerang for Gmail

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My Blog

Join me at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium!

Join me Saturday March 28, 2015 at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium. My afternoon workshop is on the theme of Loss, Shame, and Adult ADD.8
This topic has been bubbling around for awhile - in my practice and at ADHD workshops. The whole idea of "chronic sorrow" or persistent frustrating loss among many adults with ADD. 

And tied up with all that frustration is shame, kind of tainting everything it touches. 

  • Preventing clinicians from getting the very best data during ADD evaluations (because clients may be ashamed to report some of their history of loss and disappointment)

Loss, shame, and Adult ADD

So this topic has been bubbling around for awhile - in my practice and at ADHD workshops. The whole idea of "chronic sorrow" or persistent frustrating loss among many adults with ADD. 

And tied up with all that frustration is shame, kind of tainting everything it touches. 
  • Preventing clinicians from getting the very best data during ADD evaluations (because clients may be ashamed to report some of their history of loss and disappointment)
  • Preventing clients from landing on the right med or the right dose (feeling that "something's wrong with me if the meds aren't working")

Q: I'm an 8th grader working on a paper about procrastination. What can you tell me?

Q:  Dear Dr. Nowell, 
I am an eighth-year student working on a Ted Talk style presentation. I have decided to study the causes of procrastination and how motivation can solve the problem...What motivates people to get objectives done? 

A:  Hi - what an interesting project!  Dopamine is the brain's chemical messenger of motivation and reward. When we think of something we are looking forward to - really visualize it and hear it and smell it and feel it  - we activate dopamine in our own brains.

Curious, compassionate, and nonjudgmental

In my clinical work, as in the ADHD workshops, I emphasize an approach to diagnosis and treatment which I describe as:

  • curious
  • compassionate
  • and nonjudgmental

Bycurious, I mean this: approach each client or student with fresh eyes, inquiring deeply into the "how" rather than the "why" of behavior.

Compassionstarts with the assumption that we're all cut from the same cloth. When I think I am somehow essentially different from a client I cease to be therapeutically or diagnostically useful.

Boomerang for Gmail

January of last year I committed to giving Gmail a try.  Finally.  And I wrote a little update on thathere.

Glad I did, it's a much better service than what I was using before.  I've played around withSaneBox(didn't like it) andKeyRocket(loved it).

For 2015? I'm givingBoomeranga try.  I'm using it as a Chrome extension but I believe it works with other browsers as well.  Basically, it's a way schedule emails back to your inbox at a later time, and a way to schedule later delivery for your outgoing emails (maybe queue up a bunch of emails on Friday afternoon and schedule Monday morning delivery?

Met the staff today at Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program - here's what happened

This morning I had a chance to speak with the fantastic staff atLovelaneSpecial Needs Horseback Riding Program in Lincoln, Mass.  Also met a couple of beautiful horses and two very cool dogs.

We discussed the challenges of being sure that we’ve identified treatment goals which are developmentally appropriate and reasonable and attainable for a specific client. And we agreed that the ways in which we and our clients’ families conceptualize behavioral strengths and weaknesses is crucial in developing supports and managing our own stress in these unique roles.

Let's make time for what we love

Re-reading a book I'd half-finished and stuffed in a box -The Other 90% by Robert Cooper.  Super quote about passion (whichof course makes me think of dopamine, executive functioning, etc etc).  

One of the simplest ways to increase passion is by noticing where it's hiding in the midst of your busy life. What do you love enough to do for free? What gives you so much enjoyment that you yearn to do more of it? What were your childhood dreams? What do you get the biggest kick out of doing – even if you're not great at doing it?

Executive Function: Effective Strategies and Interventions

Join me this Friday (12/5/2014) for aworkshop at Assumption College in Worcester Mass.

Executive Function:  Effective Strategies and Interventionswill offer a quick overview of the neuroanatomy of executive functioning (EF) and then we'll zip through a couple of current models of EF for clinical and classroom application.

We'll spend most of our time, though, on practical hands-on strategies for managing executive dysfunction in home, clinic, and school settings.  

One of the key take-away skills will be an easy and compassionate (and fun) meta-cognition support tool called Strategic Behavioral Inquiry.

ADHD and Sleep

Did you know 
  • folks with ADD and ADHD are more likely to have broken sleep architecture, referring to those nice 90 minute cycles of deeper sleep punctuated by lighter sleep and dreaming? 
  • students with ADD are more likely to have night wakings, delayed sleep onset, even nightmares and sleep walking. And on top of that, what’s more interesting at 10pm than getting to bed? Answer: anything. 
  • and on top of that, folks with ADHD are often using stimulant medication which, for some, may delay sleep onset.

Exercise for Focus is Different from Exercise for Fitness

Hooray for exercise
Did you know that 
  • adults report better mood and perform better on measures of cognitive functioning after a period of physical activity and the benefits last for hours? 
  • exercise actually has an antidepressant property? 
  • for older adults, exercise has protective properties for brain functions. (Physical activity, typically three times a week about half an hour, increases brain derived neurotrophic factor which helps protect the hippocampus which is so important for laying down new memories.