Technology Fueled Holistic Solutions w/ ADHD Professional Dr. George Sachs
Dr. George Sachs is the co-founder and clinical director of Inflow, the first science-based digital program built exclusively for people with ADHD, by people with ADHD. Inflow is an app-based program that is grounded in the proven principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and their mission is to help every person with ADHD reach their full potential by providing sustainable, accessible, and cost-effective support. Alongside their core seven-week program, Inflow offers a safe community space and a range of supportive tools, from ADHD-specific meditations to live events and personalized journaling. Dr. Sachs has committed most of his life to helping others with ADHD. He was diagnosed later in life and is a licensed child psychologist and adult psychologist. He is the author of four books on ADHD and the founder of The Sachs Center in New York. Half the team at Inflow have ADHD, and Dr. Sachs is passionate about promoting neurodiversity in both the workplace and wider society. Inflow will be available for download on the App Store or Google Play Store from April 2021. Enjoy!
***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***
In this episode Peter & Dr. George Sachs discuss:
0:57 – Intro and welcome Dr. Sachs!
5:15 – On the concept of your app, InFlow. What is it, how did you come up with it and what does it do?
7:58 – On technology being used as a helpful tool and not a hindrance. Benefits vs dangers
9:03 – On the challenge of getting resources to everyone who needs help
10:10 – On focusing on moderation w/ an ADHD mind that’s not necessarily wired for moderation
11:22 – On finding balance/‘out-of-sight-out-of-mind’/meditation & mindfulness
12:58 – On how people are handling the lack of rituals, habits, stability, consistency during this past year + of the pandemic, specifically
14:21 – Advice for restoring rituals, daily habits, and building back. “external motivation”
15:57 – On replacing willpower with scheduled routine/built-in structure and accountability
17:33 – How do people find you and learn more and reach out to you? Get the App on April 5th in the Apple Store HERE or via Google Play. Find out more about and how to directly contact Dr. Sachs via his website https://sachscenter.com His books are linked there too!
18:11 – Dr. Sachs, thanks so much for taking the time being on Faster Than Normal, I appreciate it. Guys, as always, Faster Than Normal, if you liked what you heard drop us a review. We appreciate you guys being on the podcast, we appreciate people listening. We are, as far as I can tell, one of the top, if not the top ADHD podcast out there, so I love that, and that is all because of YOU guys, and I am eternally grateful. If you have a guest that you think might work, or maybe it’s you, someone you know, You can always reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials. We would love to hear from you guys, uh, it thrills us to no end when we get notes. Also, one final thing, if you have the book, if you’ve read Faster Than Normal the book, go on to wherever you bought it https://www.amazon.com/ or https://www.audible.com – whatever, drop us a review, you’d be amazed at how those reviews really, really help. As always, thank you for listening. ADHD is a gift, not a curse. We are looking forward to seeing you next week, you guys take care.
18:29 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits!
Hey guys, Peter, Shankman welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal, I’m thrilled that you’re here as always. It is a grey day in New York City here on this Monday, but at least it’s not raining, so that is always a plus. Good to have you here, I hope you had a great weekend. I don’t know when you’re listening to this airs on Wednesdays, that doesn’t really matter, but anyway, hope you’re having a great day. Want to introduce you today to Dr. George Sachs. Dr. Sachs is co-founder and clinical director of Inflow, the first science based digital program for managing ADHD, and we’re going to talk about that because some of our best guests ever, uh, Dr. Emily Anhalt, Dr. Rachel Cotton, all those people are all science-based and they usually give us the best interviews. So I am psyched for that. Dr. Sachs is a licensed child psychologist and adult psychologist, uh, especially in treatment of ADD, ADHD, autism, spectrum disorders in children, teens and adults. He did his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the child study center. He completed his internship postdoc work at Children’s Institute in LA, where he supervised and trained therapists in trauma focused CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. TF, CBT, see, every day there is another version of, of CBT that I am forced to learn. All right. Cool. Dr. Sachs, welcome to Faster Than Normal, it’s great to have you,
Thank you very much, it’s great to be here.
I was just saying in classic ADHD style, I didn’t have you on my calendar and we don’t know who’s at fault, but that’s okay, that’s we do.
Right, that is the challenge with ADD and having my own ADD, uh, sometimes I, you know, we never know who’s at fault, but in this case, uh, we cancel each other out.
We make it work, exactly. So, so it was funny. Cause I remember when, uh, when I first you mentioned, you knew Dr. Hallowell, when I first interviewed him for an episode #1 of the podcast all the way back, like, four… four years ago now, um, I remember that I showed up at his office an hour early, um, and he thought the interview was an hour late. And so it actually worked perfectly on time.
See, there you go.
Um, but yeah, it happens. So tell us about, um, your, you focus, especially as an ADHD… tell us what it’s been like over the past… let’s say 10 years, right? What trends have you noticed in ADD & ADHD? Has it, have you noticed, I mean, a lot of people have said they’ve seen an explosion in new cases, an explosion in diagnosis. Tell us what you’ve seen from, from a clinical standpoint.
Well, obviously, uh, okay. So, I’m a Clinical Psychologist. I have that practice on 78th, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, specializing in, uh, the, the testing and treatment of children, teens, and adults with ADHD. I also focus on Autism, ASD and Asperger’s, um, although that is not the term used anymore, but, um, uh, that is the one I prefer. So, yeah, so I’ve been working with ADHD for a long time. I myself have ADHD and have had it my whole life, uh, but only realized it in my thirties, I’m now 52, um, but I think the biggest change really is this focus from away… from attention problems or focus problems to Executive Functioning deficits. And Executive Functioning, uh, really is, includes a lot of different areas, organizational deficits, time management problems, uh, self control, impulsivity issues, emotional dysregulation, uh, so those are just a few, but it, uh, decision-making and organization. So… it really affects a lot of areas of our lives. So I, I, I, I see that as a big focus and change that, uh, I’m working on and that’s what we’re working with, um, Inflow on, bringing, um, information and tools and techniques on how to overcome, uh, executive functioning deficits. Uh, so yeah, so that’s a big change I’ve seen. Also, I have to say that another big change…. change is the, is the, um, is the interest in neuro-diversity, and I think this is wonderful, this idea that, you know, 10 years ago, ADHD was up, a problem to be fixed and a disorder and there was a heaviness to it. But now I see, you know, the culture and society moving towards an acceptance of neuro-diversity and that’s wonderful because I think people with neuro-diverse, uh, minds can really add to, and change the world.
I totally agree. And you know, it’s interesting because I’m, I’m a lot of the work I do is with companies and corporations and sort of how they’re learning to, to embrace the neuro-diverse, uh, employee, they’re realizing that it’s, it’s, it’s a value. There’s a, there’s a value there, to hiring people with different brains and that they do benefit. So it’s, it’s nice to see that there’s, that you’re seeing that in other areas as well. Um, let’s talk, let’s talk science, let’s talk about, uh, the, the concept of Inflow. What is it? How’d you come up with it? What does it do?
Well, um, Inflow is a science-based learning program on the mobile… on the mobile phone, it’s an application to help people with ADHD reach their full potential and myself, and as the clinical director teamed up with two amazing entrepreneurs, uh, one from England and one’s from South Africa, and together we have built this, uh, amazing program for people with ADHD. It’s interesting cause it’s for people with ADHD, by ADHD, by people with ADHD and myself included, but the entire team really, uh, I would say 50% of us, uh, the greater larger team here has some form of neuro-diversity, so we really understand, uh, you know, the problems with ADHD and the, the learning modules are not just a formulaic, you know, information about getting another plan or things like that, it’s really things that I’ve found effective with my clients , and….work for myself, so they’re really creative solutions to managing some of the difficulties of ADHD. The program is based on CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. So what’s unique about the app is that we not only do we give psycho-education in this unique way, creative, unique solutions for people with ADHD, but we have, uh, challenges. So each day you’re…. you’re provided with a challenge in, and you have to apply that in your real life. For example, we, we coach in the app, something called the launching pad and that’s kind of a bowl or a dish or a place near the door where you put your keys, your wallets and things like that, so that you don’t have to scramble for them in the morning, and then the, the challenge is you have to actually use it. And then come back on a daily basis to the app and swipe that you’ve, you’ve got it, and of course over time it becomes habitual… and a new tool is learned.
Interesting. What, how… talk about how you believe that technology has helped people with ADHD? You know, for me, just before we started, I shut off my, my, my living room thermostat by, by asking, you know, my computer to do it, right automatically, and so what happens, uh, in a world where technology is so ingrained from kids as young as you know, birth, right? I mean, my daughter is almost eight, and she, uh, especially with everything going on with COVID, you know, is as, almost as computer savvy as I am right? And so, so how does tech, how do we make sure technology is a help and not a hindrance, right? What do we say to parents who are saying, “I can’t, you know, my kid is on Zoom all day, and then on his iPad,or his phone all night and you know, I, more stuff, you know, how do, how do we, how do we make that differential between beneficial and, uh, dangerous, for lack of a better word.
Well, that’s a good question, and I get that a lot in my practice, particularly from parents of teenagers and children, but adults, uh, can also struggle with this, this balance, and it really is a balance because I think technology can really be an amazing tool. Uh, I myself have grown tremendously with Google and Google calendar and Gmail and the integration of all those and in my phone, so I think for people, which by the way is amazing as well. So, um, my point is it can be an amazing thing with, uh, in moderation and, and, you know, I see, you know, uh, um, uh, not tens, tens, yeah, maybe a hundred people, um, you know, a year at my practice. I don’t know. It’s, it’s not, it’s not as many as we, as the app can reach. And so, that was one of the exciting things about doing Inflow, the app, is that now I can, you know, teach and coach as many people as download the app and that, and we’re, we’re providing it to all over North America, Canada, Australia, UK. So, as you know, you know, therapy and group therapy for ADHD and even ADHD coaching can be very expensive, and the research I’ve done, is that there’s 33 psychologists per 100,000 people, and 9 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in the United States. So, you know, the challenge is, I mean, technology offers us an opportunity to bring uh, real tools, ADHD learning, to as many people as possible, so I think in that way, it’s very positive, but yeah, I mean, if you’re taking your phone to bed and you’re up until two in the morning, it’s going to impact your life.
Well, here’s an interesting question because you said that, that, you know, it’s fine in moderation, but yeah. ADHD, we’re not known for moderation, quite the opposite. We’re known for, you know, all or nothing you know, we don’t, we don’t moderate and eat two slices of pizza, we eat the pizza, right? So we have to learn ways around that. So how do you focus on implementing moderation to a brain that isn’t necessarily able to accept it as easily as, uh, you know, other brains
Well, these are things that, um, I coach in my practice and are also in the app and there’s a couple of tools that we use, but I mean, I think out of sight, out of mind is one of the easiest and, you know, if we see something we’re triggered, so I think in many cases removing that from your eyesight is something that will reduce, you know, the, the, the trigger to eat more.
So do you put a time limit on it, as it were?
Like, a time limit?
No. I mean like physically removing it from your refrigerator or like there’s foods that I want, but I can’t buy, because I’ll just say in the entire,
But I’m talking about specifically… is electronics, right? If, you know, you mentioned that you have to put a, uh, put a sort of, uh, limits on your electronic usage, right? But that’s easier said than done most of the time.
Well, um, I mean, it can be as simple as removing the app from your, uh, your home screen, you know, something like that. I mean, that’s the way, at least for me, when I, you know, I may miss it for a day or two, but then it’s like gone and, and I, and I don’t miss it. So, I mean, there’s, there does need to be some boundaries set and, some um, um, you know, personal limitations put in, but I think you know, that concept of out of sight out of mind is really important. Um, the other one, which is harder to develop, but I think the best actual treatment for ADHD, is mindfulness and meditation. And some people say, well, I can’t do that, that’s, you know, I can’t sit for any period of time, but what we, um, one of the modules in the Inflow app is on mindfulness. And it’s just, I mean, it’s really just creating a sense of, of being in the present moment and slowing ourselves down so that we can make better decisions about whether to indulge in that thing or, you know, impulse buy that thing. So I mean, this, these are the two things that work for me is #1, is to, is to literally remove it from my site, and #2 to slow myself down and practice mindfulness on a daily basis, to…to be able to make better decisions.
Yeah. That makes sense. I mean, the premise that, you know, it’s, it’s the, for me, if it’s not, again, same thing with the food, if it’s not in the fridge, I’m not gonna have it,, right? If the, if the, if the app to order the delivery is not, on my phone, um, you know, it’s gonna be harder to use, um, talk for a second about, uh, the last year, right? I mean, we’ve been in just a crazy time and, um, I know that for me, you know, all of, a lot of my rituals and a lot of the things that I use to sort of keep me, uh, focused and working and beneficial have really gone out the window, right? I’m not on a plane anymore, uh, three, you know, two or three times a week. Uh, it’s been very tough to sort of build that back. Um, what have you seen. Uh, you know, between… with your clients and, and, and with what you’ve heard in the industry, you know, what have you seen in terms of how people are handling that? Cause it’s, it’s, it’s tough for anyone, but I think when you have ADD and ADHD, and you’re very set on rituals and routines to just sort of be thrown into, not even, even now, right? I mean, you know, school is open for a week or two, and then someone catches COVID and it’s shut down for two weeks, you know, there’s no, there’s no stability anymore.
Yeah. I mean, I, you know what, it’s really interesting. It’s been a year, I think, and about a month ago I started seeing people really crashing and particularly teenagers were really suffering because they need that social interaction, and kids too, um, but with ADHD, yeah, we need the, we need the, uh, the script, but we need the, the rituals, we need the… the outline of how we’re going to go, and not have to think about it.
Um, so any tips or recommendations on what, what kids or even adults can do to sort of get a little bit of that back when it’s hard to find?
Okay, well, this is a big, um, a big tool that I like and I call it “Externalizing the Motivation” and most people with ADHD struggle, uh, to get things done and to do things because as Dr. Barkley says, one of the gurus in the field, he says that the internal voice of willpower in people with ADHD is weak, so we actually have to externalize it. And for me, that means. I really put everything on, um, anything that I struggled to do, I externalized. Um, and so if I need to do some writing, if I want to do some creative writing, I’ll join a creative writing class. And if I need to work out, I, I. I will, you know, there’s a tennis court near me, I’ll, I’ll take a class. So I, I I’ve accepted my ADHD, which by the way, is the first step. And if we accept it, then we realize we can’t really do things by ourselves, and we have to find external support, a class, uh, an accountability buddy, a teacher, um, a program. And so anything like that, and you, you know, in your book, you talk about swapping, um, um, cleaning duties, which I thought was really interesting. So I, I think if you’re struggling to get things done, it’s important to think about what can I do outside myself to get motivation. And that might, that generally comes from other people.
So I think it also, I found for a lot of people that I’ve talked to with having the podcast, it also comes from sort of, again, those rituals, the concept of, you know, uh, creating situations that allow you to get up early or to start your day or whatever, that you don’t have to think about. I think that the willpower is, uh, uh, a silent or, you know, a quieter voice, but when you don’t have to think about it and you just do it, right? So, you know, the concept of, of sleeping in your gym clothes, like I mentioned, right, we’re getting up early and just, you know, you’re on the bike or whatever it is. So I think there’s a, there’s a, a couple of, of, you know, I agree that I am more apt to get, uh, to the gym when I know my trainers waiting for me, but again, you know, not necessarily something we’ve been able to do recently,
I mean in your book at, again, you talk about your running partner, you know, like who met you in the park at 4:30 in the morning?
Still does. Yeah. That’s very true.
And still does in this, this is the perfect example of externalizing, the motivation and something like that is really, uh, you know, focused on in our Inflow app. So, you know, You have to be creative in different ways to approach that, but back to the old whole idea of a morning routine or a schedule. Yeah, we, it takes cognitive energy to, to think about what I’m going to do next and what I’m going to do next, and by having a schedule, a routine, you know, we can go on autopilot, save the cognitive resources for later in the day when we really need it to get things done. So, you know, it is important to have a schedule and also the external accountability from a friend or some other support systems.
It makes sense to me. Dr., how can people find you if they want to learn more or reach out to you?
Well, they can, uh, find me, you can download the app, uh, at the, at the GooglePlay store or the, um, the Apple store. You can look for Inflow ADHD, the app will be available in April, April 5th, and you can find me, uh, just Google me, George Sachs Physchologist, ADHD, and you’ll find my practice here in New York City.
Very cool, that’s nice. Thank you so much for taking the time, I truly appreciate it, and, uh, we will, we will definitely have you back, I’d love to hear how the app’s going and we’ll have you back in like six months or so, and then talk some more.
Okay, thank you very much.
Guys. As always, Faster Than Normal, we appreciate you being here. ADHD is a gift and not a curse, as long as you know how to use it, use some of the ways Dr. Sachs has talked about, let us know what works for you, and doesn’t. Leave us a review, if you’d like to shoot me a note at www.petershankman.com or Peter Shankman (@petershankman) • Instagram photos and videos Peter Shankman (@petershankman) | Twitter all the socials, and either way, we’ll see you next week, and we thank you for listening.
Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week.