Do Problems with Information Processing Affect the Process of Psychotherapy for Adults with Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder?


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Problems in processing information can affect psychosocial functioning. Psychotherapy can be used to address psychosocial problems; however, the same information-processing problems that contribute to disabilities, such as learning disabilities (LD) or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly deficits in auditory processing and attention, may also interfere with the process of psychotherapy. Using a Web-based survey, data dealing with perceptions of the effectiveness of psychotherapy were obtained from 52 adult patients with LD and/or ADHD and 87 adults who did not have any diagnosed cognitive difficulties. While all respondents reported psychotherapy was helpful, those with LD were less likely than others to seek therapy again and reported a greater need for more accommodations. Respondents with auditory processing problems were less likely than others to meet treatment goals. Overall, 44 percent of patients with a diagnosed disability indicated the condition affected therapy. Clients’ descriptions of the impact of their disabilities on psychotherapy, and need for accommodations, are presented. Implications for both clients and therapists are discussed.