Dis-order in the family system and ADHD

moni01Turning to medication when a child is having trouble at school or feeling sad has become very easy nowadays.  “Now 4-year-olds can be diagnosed and medicated with amphetamines like Ritalin.” says Ph.D. Marilyn Wedge who is a family therapist in California “An alternative point of view however shows that family stress can be toxic to children and is at the root of many childhood emotional and behavioral problems. Instead of viewing a child’s problem as strictly a biological disorder — whether genetic, epi-genetic or biochemical — family therapists find that they can help children best by looking at the child’s nurturing environment. A family is a complex system and, as in all complex systems, a change in one part of the system affects the other parts.” which is in complete alignment with Bert Hellinger’s Systemic Constellation Theory about the “Orders of Love” I mentioned in my last post.

ADHD doesn’t go back very far into the past. First writings to fit into the picture came from Sir Alexander Crichton in 1798 who calls it pathological when a child shows “The incapacity of attending with a necessary degree of constancy to any one object.” 

What is the necessary degree of constancy???? Every child is different – every child has a different style of learning etc. etc. etc. !!! We have to fit in a certain medical or psychological Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders scheme, right?!

When I grew up active children (I don’t like the word “hyper”) were just called “Fidgety Phils” (Zappelphilipps) according to a story from German physician Heinrich Hoffmann (1844). Our parents knew by common sense that we couldn’t concentrate on our homework forever and offered little breaks full of physical activities and the school timetable was made up in a way that helped us stay focused.

Studies in Chinese Schools show us that the regular exercise of Tai Chi and Qigong included into the daily schedule of lessons 1) lessens anxiety, 2) improves conduct, 3) lessens daydreaming, 4) reduces inappropriate emotions, and 5) decreases hyperactivity.

But now let’s have a look at society and how it could have influenced the discovery of a new disease. Society tells us what behaviour is supposed to be good or bad and sets the moral and ethical standards. Those standards give birth to new studies on behaviour and psycho-pathology according to a certain era. Crichton, the so-called founder of ADHD lived in Great Britain of the 18th century, an era where marriages were financial arrangements and children were often betrothed in infancy and married in their teens, frequently to partners they barely knew and sometimes with disastrous consequences which of course again affected their children.

In modern times when (often self-made) stress is killing common sense and clear thinking in adults, it is socially hip to diagnose innocent children with ADHD and psychologists and researchers seem to get their teeth into this topic like a dog into a bone. What a happy time for pharmaceutical companies to produce Ritalin non-stop like on an “assembly line”…..

Then there is the family itself. ADHD is a wonderful excuse for parents who have psychological problems they won’t admit. As could be seen in my last post the mother stated she couldn’t give birth to a child until her own mother had died and abandoned her father who was not allowed to see his grand-son. But that’s not all she tried to tell her son that his father would be dead. Those are severe violations of the family system which cannot be healed without love and forgiveness the mother is not capable to live at the moment. Who can be surprised when the mother’s hatred against her parents more and more mirrors in her son against her. Who can be surprised that under such permanent stress the child would show ADHD symptoms. Who can be surprised that a mother who can’t admit her own mistakes takes the easy road and even “searches” for doctors who could diagnose ADHD to her son….

A study that compares the causes of PTSD and ADHD demonstrates that both “dis-eases” are a result of trauma, stress and emotional exhaustion syndrome, called burnout. In fact, PTSD and ADHD were not diagnosed in any case without burnout. Burnout includes a hyperactive phase which can be difficult to differentiate from the hyperactivity due to ADHD. In order to establish the ADHD diagnosis, the individual should have exhibited hyperactivity and concentration difficulties in early childhood. The study clearly states that since  hyperactivity and concentration difficulties are symptoms of burnout as well, the number of  individuals with ADHD could have easily been overestimated.

When looking at parents who can’t raise their children properly because they are too stressed out and their lives are too “crazy” and overwhelming all the time you can find all symptoms of Adult ADHD like:

The symptoms of inattention and concentration difficulties include:

  • “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation.
  • extreme distractibility; wandering attention makes it hard to stay on track.
  • difficulty paying attention or focusing, such as when reading or listening to others.
  • struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple.
  • tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work.
  • poor listening skills; hard time remembering conversations and following directions.

Common symptoms of disorganization and forgetfulness include:

  • poor organizational skills (home, office, desk, or car is extremely messy and cluttered)
  • tendency to procrastinate
  • trouble starting and finishing projects
  • chronic lateness
  • frequently forgetting appointments, commitments, and deadlines
  • constantly losing or misplacing things (keys, wallet, phone, documents, bills)
  • underestimating the time it will take you to complete tasks

You know what? I’m surrounded by people who are zoning out in the middle of a conversation, who are not listening actively, never complete any tasks, have extremely messy office desks and no commitments to appointments…… How scary, hey, ADHD everywhere….

I just would like to know: Shouldn’t we first treat the adults before we drug our children to death???

Life Cycle Counselling is a short-term therapy for everyone. Combining traditional therapies like Gestalt and Art with Energy Healing techniques from NLP, EFT, Kinesiology, Systemic Constellation Therapy, Qigong and Reiki can help instantly with all kinds of life transformations. The result of  ten sessions reflects in improved relationships, better teamwork on the job, success, health and happiness.

Don’t be stuck – Be free!


Systemic Constellations quickly show us the present situation

When we work with family members we can observe that they are driven by a common principle or force which Bert Hellinger (founder of  “Systemic Family Constellations” – “Familienstellen/Familienaufstellung”) calls a family consciousness. When there’s harmony in the SYSTEM again “The Orders Of Love” – “Ordnungen der Liebe” (quote Bert Hellinger) are established again. The word “order” – “Ordnung” can be replaced by the word “LAW” from my point of view. There are certain LAWS in a family system. When they are not obeyed, acknowledged and respected CHAOS and ILLNESS can result. The dynamics within a family system are called “movement of the soul” – “Bewegungen der Seele” (quote Bert Hellinger) they flow towards the DEEPEST TRUTH that can be perceived at the time. The loving intent of the soul, the individual soul, the family soul, the tribal soul, and finally the soul of humanity can be seen in gentle interaction and unification. Movements of the soul are inner moves from separation to unity, from war to peace.

Case Study:

A client is living on the North-American continent, his child lives overseas with his mother. Suddenly everything seems to escalate. The son is taken away from his mother (who has full custody) by the Youth Welfare Department (Jugendamt). The father is desperate and asks me “What’s happening over there? I knew that she has problems with raising a child…. but I didn’t know that the situation is that bad.”

I choose to place just mother and son next to each other. The son feels very uncomfortable next to his mother. He turns the back to his mother and moves away. The mother is emotionless. She doesn’t care at all. She is not even aware of her child. She’s aware of nothing. She’s just standing still. She appears almost as being dead although she’s alive.

I put her mother behind her for support. Nothing happens. The grandmother is very uncomfortable. She turns her back to her daughter and walks away towards her grandson. She wants to support him with her love.

I put her father behind her for support. Nothing happens. The grandfather is very uncomfortable. He turns his back to his daughter and walks away. He stops beside his wife and behind his grandson. He wants to support him with his love.

Now the mother is kind of “waking up”. Everybody has left her. She turns around, looks at her parents and how they’re standing behind her child. She realizes that she has lost all her love ones and starts to cry.

I’m asking my client about this picture and he tells me that it seems absolutely right. He tells me that his ex-wife said “I can’t get a child unless my mother has died…” and he tells me that she abandoned her father and never let him see his grandson.

As the mother is not present I have to stop the constellation at that point. The solution for the mother would be to show repentance/remorse and ask her parents for forgiveness. She also would have to admit that she violated her role as a child. Best for her would be to kneel down in front of her parents, thank them for her life and acknowledge that she’s just the little one.

This would take a lot of burden from her child, who seems now to behave to her like she did to her parents.

Family Constellations show us very quickly honest solutions. Of course it’s up to the family members to accept them. If somebody shows no remorse and arrogantly insists on her belief that she is right there’s nothing that can be done… and the victim is always the child!