Episode 19

19 - ADHD & Gender Dysphoria

Published on: 16th April, 2021

Hyper-active, inattentive, immature, and impulsivity are just some of the common traits associated with ADHD. These may not have an obvious link to Gender Dysphoria and yet gender variance is found to be 6.64 times more likely among individuals with ADHD. We discuss how ADHD manifests in girls and boys, how society responds to ADHD traits, and how this interaction can lead to gender-related issues.



ADHD and Gender Dysphoria



Girls and ADHD



Travel Programs for Adolescents/Teens/Young Adults:






Elle Palmer: How my Personality Influenced my Identity



Richard Branson: ADHD: The Entrepreneur’s Superpower Forbes.com/sites/dalearcher/2014/05/14/adhd-the-entrepreneurs-superpower/?sh=11f9010459e9


Michael Phelps: How swimming saved Michael Phelps: An ADHD Story Additudemag.com/michael-phelps-adhd-advice-from-the-olympians-mom/


Gabor Maté (2000) Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It Drgabormate.com/book/scattered-minds/

Extended Notes

  • A lot of diagnoses are flying around and it’s easy to go, “yeah, yeah.”
  • What is ADHD? How do you define it?
  • It’s hard to force yourself to focus when you’re really uninterested in something.
  • ADHD is actually a good thing and it was used for our survival.
  • When society/school tells these children they’re slow or that they’re not performing well, it can really perpetuate a lot of negative self-talk and make the problem worse.
  • Stella can see how a lot of children with ADHD have been impacted with how poor or low self-esteem.
  • Has ADHD always existed or is this just the byproduct of our environment?
  • Since ADHD kids have a hard time tracking the details, they might be seen as silly or slow.
  • Do ADHD kids seem shyer because of how many times people tell them to “stop” doing things or being who they are? Stella and Sasha wonder what kind of personality they’d truly have if they were just “free to be.”
  • ADHD kids try their best to structure themselves and they can also end up being really obsessed with goals.
  • Once these kids have their minds set on something, they become hyper-focused on achieving it. Even if it means it’s not 100% what they want.
  • Social media is made for an ADHD person.
  • How do ADHD traits show up in boys and girls, especially those with gender dysphoria?
  • A lot of successful people have ADHD. it’s a great trait to have in the “real world.”
  • Sasha relates to the ADHD symptoms. She loves to try something new.
  • The old, the boring, and the routine are actually important for people, but ADHD people can’t seem to get behind it.
  • A slow life is not the only way to get ahead. There is a world out there for ADHD people to thrive in.

This podcast is partially sponsored by ReIME, Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics:


Learn more about our show: Linktr.ee/WiderLensPod

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About the Podcast

Gender: A Wider Lens Podcast
Two therapists explore the expanding concept of "gender" from a psychological depth perspective.
Gender dysphoria has become a minefield for public discussion, with many afraid to express their views or question the narrative. Our mission is to examine this important and complex topic from a range of perspectives, but always through a psychological lens. By openly considering and examining gender identity, transition, and the transgender umbrella, we hope to give all interested parties permission to engage these fascinating topics with less fear and more honesty. Interviews and discussions will involve clinicians, medical professionals, academics, transgender people, parents, detransitioners and other interesting individuals whose lives have been touched by the concept of gender.

Conversations between two practicing therapists give listeners an opportunity to contemplate gender from a depth perspective not currently taken up in most of today’s accessible debates. As a result of their work with gender dysphoric therapy clients as well as their personal divergent experiences with gender, Stella and Sasha hold a refreshing and informed perspective.

Is gender identity a facilitation of development and expression of creativity, or can it be a defense against painful existential realities of living in a human body? What can we discover about masculinity, femininity, identity, gender performance, and sexuality when we peer beneath the surface and dive into a deeper psychological exploration? What is the relationship between body, mind, identity, culture, and psyche?

This podcast engages listeners in an intimate and fascinating behind-the-scenes inquiry about a topic as taboo as it is salient today.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Genspect - an international organization which offers an alternative to WPATH. Providing a range of education, resources and supports to anyone impacted by gender distress, Genspect unites many different organizations globally, and gives voice to 1,000s of previously untold stories. For more info, visit genspect.org.

GETA - an association of therapists who believe that individuals experiencing gender related concerns ought to be treated using a whole person approach. GETA connects like minded clinicians, provides educational resources and trainings, and helps people with gender dysphoria find support. For more info, visit genderexploratory.com.
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About your hosts

Stella O'Malley

Profile picture for Stella O'Malley
Stella O’Malley is a psychotherapist and author who works in private practice in Ireland. Her work focuses on parenting, family dynamics and working with teenagers.

Much of Stella’s counselling and writing focuses on mental health and the importance of well-being and she is a regular contributor to the media. She is also the resident psychotherapist for the current TV series, Raised by the Village, a family programme that helps troubled teenagers reconnect with themselves and their families.

Stella's first book, Cotton Wool Kids, was released in 2015 while Bully-Proof Kids: Practical tools to help kids grow up confident, resilient and strong was released in 2017. Stella’s latest book Fragile, was released in 2019 and focuses on overcoming anxiety and stress.

Stella was the presenter of the documentary Trans - Kids: It’s Time To Talk broadcast on Channel 4 in November 2018 and she contributed a chapter to the 2019 book, Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.

The Jungian analyst, Lisa Marchiano, and Stella launched Secrets of the Motherworld in September 2019, offering thoughtful exploration of the most intimate aspects of motherhood in a bid to help mothers feel less alone.

Stella is a Clinical Advisor for the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners. She is also the lead facilitator for the Gender Dysphoria Support Network.

Stella holds a B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy and a M.A. in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Sasha Ayad

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Sasha Ayad is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works in private practice, and has treated adolescents for over 10 years. Her work focuses on teens and young adults struggling with issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity.

She became interested in the sharp rise in teenagers who declare a trans identity for the first time during adolescence. She discovered, through working with hundreds of families, that many teens were developing gender dysphoria only after adopting a transgender identity. She questions the practice of medical transition for children and teenagers, and her clinical work focuses on developmentally appropriate, least-invasive-first talk therapy.

Sasha is also a founding member and Clinical Advisor in the Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine and a founding member of the International Association of Therapists for Desisters and Detransitioners.

Sasha’s previous work experience includes:
- School counselor for middle and high school students at a charter school for underserved communities

- Behavioral therapy with children on the autism spectrum

- Individual and group counseling for women and children impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence

- Developed and ran the first counseling program at a large state supported living facility for adults with intellectual disability

Sasha holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.