Holding the Middle Ground


According to the website of the UK’s biggest ADD / ADHD charity ADDISS, next week (19th – 26th September) “ADHD Awareness week will be celebrated across Europe”.

My own activities will be fairly low-key: just a mailing to independent GP’s in the UK (in fact, there are very few outside London). It will stress how non-NHS psychiatrists and GP’s have a common interest in actively promoting our practice, rather than keeping quiet and just picking up patients who are dissatisfied with the NHS enough to seek us out.

“Moderate” clinical views will also be emphasied. Eighteen months ago I received some comments that I was too skeptical about the pharmaceutical industry, after stating (1) that I thought the 2009 NICE ADHD guidelines were too pro-medication for adults, and not favourable enough about non-medication treatments.

More recently I have been advised that I have come across (within the London independent medical scene) as a bit “biological”, which can mean “uses medication too freely”.

I’m not sure how reliable this report is, but it is true that I have not blogged much about psychotherapy in the last few months, and my only piece wholly on the subject (22nd January) suggested that cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) had been “hyped”.

Plenty of discussions have in fact taken place between myself and psychotherapists based at 17 Wimpole Street, especially Max Cohen and Richard Sherry. Plus others who include the energetic ADHD coach Andrew Lewis, clinical psychologist Katingo Giannoulis, and ADHD-coach-turned-integrative-therapist Sue Dives. Many patients have had psychotherapy or coaching, of various kinds, recommended. More than a few are taking these suggestions up.

In April I took my poster presentation on Vincent Van Gogh’s possible ADD / ADHD to an influential psychotherapy conference (2), where I stressed the potential for psychodynamic therapies to help ADD / ADHD and other developmental disorders.

Now that I think about it, it might be just as well to print off this Blog piece for my independent GP colleagues, and do a brief covering note. There’s only so much “awareness” raising one can do, especially if one is stressing “moderate”, safe, and therefore possibly less attention-seeking views.



(1) In my talk at the 2009 ADDISS conference, and on this website.

(2) The Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Psychotherapy Annual Conference, in Cambridge.

Published at www.DrNM.org.uk on 17th September 2010; transferred to DrNMblog.wordpress.com on 9th October 2011

About Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych

Independent Psychiatrist providing culturally informed mental health opinion, advice, and a few new facts. Based near London, UK. Main qualifications: BA MBBS MA MRCPsych.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: