Cognitive Therapy for Inattentive ADHD

There are mane studies that have shown that cognitive therapy is helpful in reducing the symptoms of ADHD.  One very recent study of Adults trained in metacognitive skills demonstrated that this potential Inattentive ADHD treatment produced a great improvement in inattention in study participants.

Metacognition is the study of what you think about what you think.  I have to admit that this line of study is right up the Inattentive ADHD alley.  Most of us with Inattentive ADHD not only love to think.  We love to think about how we think.  Harnessing all that thinking into productivity can only be a good thing.

Cognitive therapy is often lumped into a category called Cognitive-Behavioral therapy but Metacognitive therapy is not the same as Cognitive Behavioral therapy.  The Cognitive-Behavioral therapist addresses the behavior and tends to take a nuts and bolts approach to achieving symptom control.  The Cognitive-Behavioral therapist helps with setting goals, prioritizing goals, minimizing barriers to completing the goals, and developing a practical strategy for accomplishing the goal.  The metacognitive therapist trains the bigger picture thought processes regarding time management, planning, and organizing.

We may quibble over whether these two things are exactly the same but I would argue that  the Behavioral-Cognitive therapist gives you real life coaching whereas the Metacognitive therapist gives you more 'change your thinking' based training.  Both modalities work but I particularly like the metacognitive approach as it works in conjunction with a strength that most of us with Inattentive ADHD already have.

The researchers in the metacognition training study spent 2 hours a week with ADHD adults teaching them new ways to think about time management, planning, and organization.  The adults completed home exercises to reinforce their new learning.  At the end of 12 weeks the study group had a 30% reduction in inattention scores when compared to the control group that received supportive therapy only.  None of the adults in this recent study received medication.

There  have been studies done with children using metacognition training and EEG Neurobiofeedback that have shown good results.  One study that I read from top to bottom studied 60 children.  At the beginning of the study most of the kids were on medication. By the end of the study less than 10% required medication.  The children had improvements in attention, reading skills, and IQ.

You can find an EEG Neurobiofeedback provider here and a Cognitive Therapist here.  It is exciting to know that there is effective Inattentive ADHD Treatment (ADHD-PI treatment)  that does not involve medication.  Therapies that involve thinking  are especially exciting as they work with an ability that most of us with ADHD-PI have an abundance of.  The therapy works with our already well honed ability to reflect at length.


  1. Hi,
    I enjoy your blog, thanks for all the information. My 10 yr. old son is inattentive in class, fidgets, gets the class going etc. His reading comprehension is down, he rushes through, misses questions. The school does not think he has ADD, rather it is a behavioral issue. He will be tested privately. Have you ever heard of Interactive Metronome being used to help the symptoms of ADD? If so, what do you think? Thanks.

  2. Julie,
    You can find my post on Metronome therapy here:

    There is more research on CogMed and EEG biofeedback showing that it helps. Less studies have been done on the Metronome therapy but I talk a lot more about it in the post above.

    At the bottom left there is a space where you can search this blog for the post on Cogmed and on EEG Neurobiofeedback.

    Thanks for reading!! Tess


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