I grew up with parents who spent much of their lives serving others. Mom was a high school graduate, and Dad dropped out of the ninth grade to work. When I was a year old, my father entered the grocery business, like his dad. He bought the inventory of a little corner store and got a delivery truck so we could take groceries to the elderly and handicapped, and to families with no means of transportation. He and Mom were bodhisattvas, which means they were motivated by compassion to help others. They were among five couples who co-founded a social service agency in Nashville called AGAPE. Dad later co-founded a disaster relief program with other members of his faith community. My parents were models for living a life of value. They inspired me to follow their lead and attempt to be a compassionate helper.
I got my bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology at Middle Tennessee State University and worked in mental health and developmental disabilities in Tennessee and California in the early years of my career. I returned to graduate school, attending the University of Tennessee College of Social Work to complete my second master's degree. After obtaining my license for independent practice, I worked at Vanderbilt and Family & Children's Service in Nashville before beginning my private practice in 1996. Diagnosed with ADHD in 1994, I began to specialize in serving other adults with attention disorders. I would learn that "attention deficit" was a misnomer. I began to see how that label reinforced the notion that individuals with this neurological difference simply were unable to focus their attention. That narrow conceptualization of this complex disorder limits effective treatment of ADHD in my opinion. If allowed to rename it, I would call it "attention management disorder."
My private practice has evolved into multiple services. Providing psychotherapy just wasn't going to be enough to meet the diverse needs of this population, and many adults with ADHD don't need traditional therapy anyway. So, I started a support group for adults with ADHD, began providing workshops for ADHD couples, and developed a meditation workshop tailored to the needs of adults with ADHD. Most recently, I've begun to write and speak on how to live well with this neurological difference.
After years of hearing psychotherapy clients say, "I never thought about it that way," I decided that I might be on to something a little different. I wanted to give more consideration to abilities than disabilities. I wanted to cultivate a perspective based in acceptance and wise effort, one that would appeal to the inherent resourcefulness and creativity of individuals in the ADHD family. I wrote my book with the intention of sharing this perspective and helping more people beyond the walls of my office, the support group meetings, and the workshops. My book has been a labor of love, which is the title of my last chapter. My wish is to be useful to adults with ADHD. I want to enhance the lives of adults with brains wired like mine and inspire them to use their talents to achieve their life goals.