Adult ADHD and Thought Stopping

October 7, 2013 Elizabeth Prager

Hallelujah! I have started seeing a new therapist. It is the fist time in about a year-and-a-half that I've had time to see one and I couldn't be happier. After one visit I already have 2 new techniques to control anxiety that also address my inattention and hyperfocusing behaviors. This doctor is amazing.The two strategies are thought stopping and the "emotional freedom technique (EFT)." We didn't talk much about EFT , so I'll focus this blog post on thought stopping. Are you as excited as I am? Sure hope so!

I had a horrible week last week. I was confronted with a lot of emotional stuff that brought up stuff from years ago and, in general, it stunk and was the worst. I found myself drifting off trying to convince myself of this and that, rather than studying for my big (HUGE) midterm or even reading my really good political thriller. I've never read a political thriller and am really into it, so the fact that I couldn't attend to reading meant I had a really grumpy brain last week.

What is Thought-Stopping?

The bad stuff started on a Friday and I saw my therapist on the following Wednesday. We spent a good part of our first hour not doing the typical intake one does on a first meeting, and instead focused on my current angsty-ness. After maybe 40 minutes of me talking in circles and trying to logic the heck out of the situation, my new doc brought up "thought stopping."

Thought stopping is something you can do when your brain is foggy and inattentive or grumpy and red-hot angry. All it takes it literally saying "stop." Yes, your brain will drift back to the thoughts again at some point, but you stop it in the moment. When thoughts are spinning or completely off task, tell yourself to stop and redirect thoughts and behavior to something adaptive and functional - like paying attention or reading your book.

Like all techniques, this is not the be-all and end-all. It's just another tool for your toolbox, like journaling. This is the kind of thing you can do, though, when journaling is helping your mind spiral out of control. Sometimes it's important to step away from the situation (stop) and bring some good things into your life. So, now that I've said all I've needed to say, you can Stop [reading].

You can also connect with Elizabeth Prager on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2013, October 7). Adult ADHD and Thought Stopping, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

October, 4 2022 at 10:10 am

This is what happens when your therapist is not experienced with adhd or neurodivergence at all. Terribly unhelpful advice from your doctor reminiscent of things I was taught as an autistic person in ABA/Abusive therapy designed by the same guy who invented conversion therapy for gay kids.

October, 11 2013 at 2:44 pm

Hi again! I'm catching up on reading the blogs on Healthy Place, been a little short on time lately. I love the idea of thought stopping, it sounds like a great way to refocus and redirect what one is doing. Thanks for sharing this, I have a new tool in my box now.

Leave a reply