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Title: Child psychotherapy with children who are medicated for ADHD : discourse, power and interdisciplinary practice
Author: Peter, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6353 0826
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This study empirically investigated the under-explored practice of combining psychoanalytic psychotherapy with medication in the treatment of children diagnosed with ADHD. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six child psychotherapists who had provided psychoanalytic treatment to children medicated for ADHD. The data were analysed thematically and discursively, paying attention to the social and performative functions of language in interaction. The interview material was characterised by double messages of explicit support for and implicit resistance to the practice of combining medication and psychotherapy, thus suggesting that the metaphorical ‘marriage’ of psychoanalytic and psychiatric practice was only superficially well-functioning. This was expressed through three interpretative repertoires – A marriage of convenience, Separate lives, and For the sake of the children – which were employed by participants to negotiate differential power relations and attributions of blame in the field of ADHD. The study found: 1. An unacknowledged paradigm clash between psychoanalytic and medical models of ADHD 2. A dissonance between a proclaimed complementarity between psychoanalytic and psychopharmacological interventions, and an absence of mutually enriching collaboration in practice 3. Psychotherapists appear to be ambivalent and only superficially accepting of and compliant with the medical model of ADHD These findings add to the existing literature by highlighting the challenges of a multi-perspective approach in this contested area. Suggestions are made for practical action aiming to foster open interdisciplinary exchange and debate, and broader public and professional dialogues about ADHD.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available