Stick & Stones break bones but Words really hurt…

Language is powerful. With it we can share ideas, create images of what is not, relive the past and organise our thinking. Accordingly, this language “reality” can also hurt. 

With others’ words, we conjure mental images that change the way we feel and act. The mediator for this is usually a feature of executive function. The self regulation of our thinking and acting. 

To do this, our “emotional” network will take in the information, process in reference to our “emotional experience” or memory, and create a motivational response, either towards or away. As our “emotional memory” is by nature vague and fast, we have the fore mentioned mediator in the form of our “attentional” network. 

The “attentional” network involves close focus where more detail is added while at the same time the “emotional” network is turned down. With this new information and perspective, (including an awareness of intent and benefit) the new “story” is directed back to the emotional network to rewrite the script and change our response (motivation). 

The challenge with ADHD is that easy access to the “attentional” network is inconsistent. The result being a bias towards “emotional” network processing and reactive responses often related to our more negative past experiences. Without the easy access to the “attentional” mediator, the power of words hit our most sensitive memories and trigger painful and reactive responses. Worse still, these emotional experiences can be very difficult to move on from, colouring the way in which we see the world and those around us. 

The opportunity is to consider languages role in regulating our emotions and how profoundly they can influenced the focus of attention. Lisa Feldman Barrett describes in her book “How Emotions Are Made”, this relationship between an emotional experience (or motivational experience), trigger/s, and the energy. To extend this model to incorporate executive function, it is interesting to propose the application of Barrett’s “energy” to effective executive function. 

This then would read as:

> a trigger 

> stimulating emotional referencing (fast, imprecise, protective response) which with the right executive function resourcing would then 

> create inhibition of reaction, 

> redirection to attention, 

> processing of detail, and 

> recreation of perception and a new “emotional” context or story 

> resulting in a different response. 

So enters self directed talk. Pre-learned language strategies that create a reality supportive to allowing this cascade of reason to happen. People with ADHD often present has having few or poorly formed self directed talk but have the potential to develop it as adults. Simple directions such as “take a deep breathe”, “ she means well”, “I need to take a moment” or even “toilet break!” can create enough of a pause in processing to allow easier inhibition of emotional reaction and facilitate the cascade of reason. 

A language strategy that I use with clients involves the acronym SOLVE. When ruminating and stuck in the emotional mental loop, we engage the SOLVE:

  1. S – STOP! Take a breath, change your position (move!)
  2. O L – Objectively List – state what you positively know – no assumptions or presumptions!
  3. V – Verbalise – turn it into words. By keeping it in your head you lose much of the impact of language. Say it out loud. What you know and what next.
  4. E – Exit the loop – move on to another activity or positive action.

This simple language strategy helps break emotional thinking and introduces the attentional thinking and in turn the changes the experience. So to quote many a mother, “ Use your words!”

Love is like a box of chocolates

Love is like a box of chocolates:  Sorry Forrest Gump for massaging your quote.  I couldn’t resist taking this photo.  and reflecting on what love is, how it is, and how it can be a huge part of “happiness” but also “gratitude” All so tightly bound.

Love can be sweet and delicious and be embraced for a short time or savoured for a long time. It might end up differently to what you thought it might be, and not to your taste, and you can finish love. Like chocolate. Love can be in different forms, your soul mate, your children, your friends.  You can love spending time with them. You can love spending time with yourself. You can love the companionship of having a dog, a cat or a bird, a good book. -or you can love spending time with groups of friends (eg cycling buddies, thanks Kevin Andrews-) you can’t always marry love. Or if you are lucky you can marry your love.

This ties into being happy- being resilient, knowing gratitude, and setting goals or being in the moment. These momentary awareness’s are can be missed or can be challenging. Sometimes the love we have for our children can be tested and strained, as with partners. It can happen with or without ADHD.   We can help. We have private Life/ADHD coaching.  We run Parent as Coach and our Couples program. Coaching is like Mindfulness, objective and non-judgmental. Connect with us, and re-connect with your love.

Is ADHD real? Can Adults have ADHD?

Photograph courtesy of Queensland State Library-Thank you

So many of my clients that I see in part of my work are presenting for coaching or to get an ADHD assessment in their adulthood. They have so many questions because the notion of having ADHD as an adult comes as such a shock.

Often an adult will present to the clinic for assessment because:

  • they are struggling at work, study or at home and they or their loved ones have just had enough.
  • they have sought some help and the medications prescribed by the GP have not helped, often medications for anxiety or depression.
  • Their impulsive behaviours get them into lots of trouble, with friends (speaking before thinking and unintentionally insulting or offending someone) or financially (typically overspending or making bad financial decisions) or with their self-esteem (over eating).
  • They just can’t get things done, they procrastinate and struggle to activate
  • They get caught up in a lot of emotional behaviours -fighting with others, feelings being hurt more easily than others.
  • They are tired of saying “Sorry” – for being late, for being disorganised, for forgetting the needs of others (or themselves), paying bills late regularly, not making plans.
  • Sometimes they tell fibs- but not from a character flaw, but in a self-protective response (more of this in my next post).

Most of these things don’t sound like the ADHD that the general public think of as “ADHD”

If fact in the USA, the fastest demographic for ADHD diagnosis at the moment is for adult women.

Dr Ari Tuckman, a Psychologist in the US talks about four pillars of treatment for ADHD.  They are education, medication, CBT (Cognitive Behaviour therapy) and Coaching.

Our coaching clients find enormous benefits in the “designed pause” that coaching gives them.  Combined with our knowledge of ADHD we can help our clients find the right strategies for their situation. I firmly believe that coaching is a form of Mindfulness. Coaching is objective and non-judgmental. It gives us the opportunity to look at the current moment with curiosity and a new focus that is not tainted with a heavy emotional story- we just look at the facts, and the we look at where the ADHD traits are in the story.  We can then create a new story, one that is realistic, accountable and positive, based on the things that are great (such as the character strengths) of our clients.

You are the most important person in your life. Without you, you have nothing. If you are newly diagnosed or an adult with a history of ADHD (and told you had grown out of it) then heed this message.  The world of ADHD is a different world now.  You don’t have to hide, be ashamed or be shy about it.  There is help there, but better than that, understanding now. There are “Nay- sayers “about ADHD, their problem is their ignorance. Yep, I said it.  People that have a problem with the existence of ADHD are ignorant of the neuroscience that is available. They probably also have problems with being judgmental too.  And who are they to judge?

Be proud of your strengths, people with ADHD are frequently highly creative, fun to be with, often stand out from the crowd (think, Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Emma Watson, Michael Phelps, Lisa Ling (U.S. reporter)  well known to be ADHD and public about it.

But it doesn’t matter who else is ADHD.  The most important thing is that if you are ADHD, then you have an opportunity to work with the “glorious strengths” – as described by one of my clients; but also take into account where supports might be needed for the challenges (I never, ever, never say weaknesses).

ADHD or not, to be aware and be grateful for the moment that we are in, is what makes a great life even better. We can help you find that moment.

Referrals – Professional or Self

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Understanding and strategies for kids and families with ADHD-Parent as Coach!

When our kids or any family member has ADHD or in their make-up, life can be challenging. It can be like a roller coaster of emotion. Effective management of ADHD can provide a positive turning point, both for the individual, family and the home environment. At Connect ADHD Coaching we help families focus on the right information, and the right strategies and the skill building that helps the family function better. Register on our website and for details of our upcoming online, 4-part Parent as Coach program. (See Parent as Coach Tab)

At Connect ADHD we specialize in ADHD and Executive function coaching. Executive skills are the skills we use to be successful in our environment. We use insights from current neuroscience and coaching skills to give parents and care-givers the knowledge and tools they need guide their child through the daily challenges faced. You can join anywhere from Australia or even overseas.
The program fee is $220 and runs weekly for 4 weeks.
Tuesday July 11
Tuesday July 18th
Tuesday July 25th
Tuesday August 1st.
Can’t make a session- don’t worry as all sessions will be recorded for those who register.
This program is an excellent opportunity to gain current, neuroscience based knowledge but also find community. This is your opportunity to ask questions and be heard, and to process strategies that fit in with you and your family. This is a small group session so places are limited.

Register now to ensure your place

Five lessons on focus and mindfulness I learnt from my beautiful naughty dog.


We have a 10-month-old dog, Casper, who has taught me some GREAT lessons in Mindfulness and focused attention. At Connect ADHD Coaching we use mindfulness techniques in a number of way for our clients.

  1. Being more mindful and focusing where I hang (or used to hang) my $60 bra (the bra I used to have, before it was destroyed by said pooch)
  2. Noticing where I leave my sports socks and sneakers…the ones I used to own…. before being destroyed by….said pooch)
  3. Becoming non- judgmental about when “an incident” occurs…socks, shoes- at the end of the day, they are just material possessions.
  4. Objectivity is also getting some excellent practise; instead of old habits and processes running the routine I now look at the moment I am in now, and what the opportunities are moving forward.
  5. Being in the present moment of beauty and the joy it brings. Being amongst unconditional love and spontaneity. Being outdoors, breathing in fresh air, having fun, getting green time, not screen time. Noticing the beauty in a butterfly floating by (distracting the dog, distracting me), being totally in the current moment.

How do you find ways of being mindful?

Is your relationship with time fractured?


Is your relationship with time fractured?


An inconsistent relationship with time can invade many areas of an individual’s day to day experience. The effects can be disastrous in the workplace, in relationships and can play a significant part in one’s self-efficacy (a belief in their ability to perform and succeed)   It can affect an individual’s sense of self-worth and foster negative thoughts such as guilt and shame.

Frequently my clients share with me that they are tired of apologizing for being late, adding to the already stressful feeling of running late.  They intend to get there in time, but got stuck behind a truck, an old driver, or having a bad run of traffic lights (…yet again). When an individual feels shame, they feel disconnected from others, not worthy of belonging.

It can also shape or even taint other people’s opinions also of the individual as well,

“My friends don’t even expect me to be on time anymore, and you know, they are right…”

“I was passed over again at work, time management again seen as on ongoing weakness”


Being consistently late can send the following messages that you’re

  • disrespectful of other people by not valuing their time commitments
  • Lazy or  being “flakey”
  • Disorganized
  • Unreliable
  • Not committed or interested


These labels can further reduce an individual’s feelings of self-worth. Little wonder anxiety creeps in. Is that what we really want? How is it that history tends to repeat itself and you are running the same 20 minutes time and time again?

Here are a few reasons how Executive Function challenges (often seen in ADHD) can impact one’s relationship or sense or time. Inconsistencies if the following areas of

  • Inhibition
  • Attention management
  • Emotional regulation
  • Working Memory


Inhibition can play a role. By this I mean that there is often a temptation to “just do one more thing before I leave the house”. So by not inhibiting that urge precious time is lost, and one is running late, yet again.


Attention management can be seen in literally not noticing the time.  Perhaps the individual is intensely interested in reading a book, looking at something on the computer, or watching TV.  Suddenly you’re supposed to be somewhere in 15 minutes but it will take 30 minutes to drive there…because you’re late, there are no parking spaces left, and the clock is still ticking by….


Emotional regulation can also effect performance and the management of time. Often reported to me is the fact that someone hates getting somewhere early as they are really afraid of being bored when they get to their destination and there is time to spare. Motivation also might be at play here.  It is often easier to arrive at a place you are genuinely interested in going to compared with somewhere that is of limited interest or attending something that can be interpreted as a chore (even if it is important). It is interesting to observe that Uni students will often unintentionally run late to get to lectures, but are never late to get into an exam for example. Lectures can feel like a chore and there is no significant consequence if it is missed at that exact time. Motivation to attend can be inconsistent. “I can always catch up later”…but sometimes that later doesn’t happen.  The stakes are just too high (and the consequences very scary) to miss an exam so motivation is high.


Working memory can effect time management also.  Common examples of this are “I forgot I had an appointment”, “couldn’t remember the time for the job interview or forgot it altogether”, “Couldn’t find my car keys, or my wallet or my work ID badge”, “forgot to set my alarm clock and slept in …again”


We specialise in helping people discover their executive function strengths and challenges. We can share some easy strategies and reminder systems that really work. This may help our clients move forward with a positive perspective and greater self-awareness.

To find out more about how Connect ADHD Coaching can help you address your relationship with time, click here and head for the “referrals “tab if you want to hear more about what we do.


Today is always the best way to start a new way to moving forward to the life you deserve to live. Connect ADHD Coaching may help as we focus on the underlying neuroscience combined with our expert coaching skills and Psychoeducation, using our unique models, tools and also current aps to support people who are ready to move forward.

Intent & ADHD – Tasks

In this final of the three posts regarding INTENT and ADHD, we’ll look at the tasks that fulfil the actions of your intent.

The TASKS should be set to achieve your CRITERIA and in turn your INTENT. Choosing tasks to meet the CRITERIA ensures that you stay on track. They should be small concise steps with clear timeframes and required resources. Also, they should be attended in the manner of your INTENT (WHO/HOW)

In terms of addressing the challenges with attention and working memory, keeping concise written notes are useful as a “analog” working memory to avoid moving off INTENT and going down rabbit holes of interest. Having a specific list of TASKS and the CRITERIA also aid in finding easier on ramps to motivation (“I just need to do the next small task”) and more opportunities for reward via reinforced perception of achievement (meeting CRITERIA).

Other areas of support for maintaining INTENT are time monitoring & perception, future self empathy, and overall motivation management. There are strategies that work well with our INTENT model to address these areas and I will start looking at these in future blogs. See you then!


INTENT & ADHD – Part 2 of 3: CRITERIA!Criteria - the proof of Intent

In the last post I discussed the critical role of INTENT in enabling us to shape our present and future to our chosen outcome. As a form of mission statement, the intent is great for capturing a multi-dimensional image of what we would like to be and how we would like to be in achieving/living it. (The WHY/WHAT & WHO/HOW components discussed in the last post).

However, this detailed and overarching INTENT concept can be challenging to maintain (or monitor) in real time and assess (or know) when it has been achieved. A more compact and efficient version is needed for day to day use! The CRITERIA fulfil this more efficient role and can be used to shape the INTENT delivery.

The CRITERIA are 3 or 4 (max) specific, measurable points that can be used as a checklist in real time to assess whether you are meeting your INTENT in progress and to decide when you have met your intent to allow you to conclude it. Another way of describing it is the evidence that you are meeting or have met your intent. It’s efficient form (a few specific checkpoints) allows you to easily retain and quickly confirm whether you are on track with your INTENT or not. Having a specific end measure also helps avoid being stuck in “perfecting” or feeling incomplete at the end of your intent or goal. Both the interim checks and end review also then allow greater access the necessary rewards.

So if INTENT is our multi-dimensional, overacting mission, and the CRITERIA are the checkpoints along the way and at the end that prove that we are meeting our INTENT – what of the jobs or tasks that are usually considered earlier in this process? – we’ll cover those in the final of this trio of post!

Adults with ADHD – Answers!

Adults with ADHD – AnswersADULT ADHD FREE
a free information presentation – Tuesday 730pm, July 12th.
Adult ADHD has been increasingly recognised in treatment and the media in recent months. With symptoms such as problems managing attention, impulsive behaviour, and trouble with relationships and feelings, ADHD impacts adults across their lives in ways that are often misunderstood. This misunderstanding commonly including the belief that these people choose to behave in this manner which can leave the adult with ADHD feeli
ng rejected, frustrated and at a loss for how to move forward.

To meet the knowledge gap regarding ADHD in Adults, Jonathan Hassall BN ACG & Monica Hassall BN ACG from Connect ADHD Coaching are providing a free, 90 minute presentation entitled, “Adults with ADHD Answers” on Tuesday, July 12th at 730pm in Taylor Range Country Club, 28 Greenlanes Rd. Ashgrove. The presentation is open to anyone interested in ADHD in adults whether you believe you have ADHD or not and for any family or friends that are also interested.

The aim of the presentation is to provide you with the current knowledge regarding how this neurodevelopmental condition has been identified and understood. With this information we hope to provide better insight as to whether you feel this is relevant to you or not and can move forward with resolving your current challenges.

This includes:

  • ADULT ADHD FREE Backwhere did it come from and what it is
  • the experience of ADHD through the lifespan;
  • how it can impact the lives of those with ADHD
  • what can be done (diagnosis, treatment options, and expected outcomes)
  • where to find out more (links to other expert information in the field)

To find out more and/or register for this free evening presentation, please visit Connect ADHD Coaching’s website and complete the registration form at