Experience experts are becoming more and more important

By Sandra Kooij

‘Experience experts are becoming more and more important’, this is the title of the contribution by psychologist Arno de Poorter to this website. I could not agree more.

Why is cooperation with experience experts important to us, professionals?

In my experience, because we learn most from experience experts, from their comments, ideas, wishes and needs. Because they help us focus on what is really helpful and what is not. Because we just don’t understand ADHD or any other mental disorder without their input. Because together we are stronger in achieving the same goal: developing better mental health care for those who need it. Because …., you may fill in why you think you need experience experts more and more…..

Read Arno’s experience with ADHD and how he overcame the obstacles related to ADHD.

Experience experts are becoming increasingly more important

My psychiatrist was my first regular care provider. He thought I was so disturbed with my ADHD that I would never find paid work. He advised me to apply for welfare. At the welfare office, the civil servant came to the same conclusion: I deemed 100 percent disabled. Nevertheless, he registered me with an occupational health organisation so I could be reintegrated and guided to find suitable work.

I wanted to get help to find work, but I wanted to be self-employed, an independent entrepreneur who would use his ‘disorder’ to help other ‘insane’ people make the best of it. The civil servant could not imagine such work would be successful, or that there would be a demand for this skill, so he stood by his decision to have me declared unemployable.

I objected, and after winning the legal case, the municipality gave me the opportunity to choose a reintegration coach who would support me in setting up my own company with my ‘disorder’ as a unique selling point.

From the start there was enough demand for a psychologist who was also ‘insane’. Soon the demand became bigger than I could handle and I started looking for other ‘insane’ psychologists with ADHD, whom I luckily found. But unfortunately, few dared to come out with their ‘insanity’.

How different is this in football; most trainers used to be football players themselves. To get the best out of players, you not only have to understand football, but also know what it feels like to lose a match in the last minute.

Fortunately, I have noticed recently that more and more frequently, people living with a diagnosis are making their voices heard. In order to take our mental health care to the next level, the time has come for both the number of professionals living with ADHD and their regular colleagues mental health authorities to be aligned. Only then will we find out how we can bring out the best in all of us and by doing so strengthen each other.

Arno de Poorter
Psychologist and human with ADHD