Download Jennifer Elkins' comprehensive guide to marriage and ADHD
Texas: Licensed Professional Counselor #78156
Florida: Licensed Mental Health Counselor #11444
MA University of South Florida, Tampa (Rehabilitation & Mental Health) 2009.
B.A., Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Tx (Psychology) 2003.
Jennifer's clinical experience is broad and includes working with individual, family, and group therapy for children and adolescents at a community mental health agency. She's been group facilitator, child advocate, clinical trainer, and active member of numerous treatment teams.
While she's worked with many presenting problems, including adults and children struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, family communication issues, Autism, age-related cognitive decline, and problems in social skills, she has one particular passion: Working with ADHD and artists/non-artist and relationships. In other words, couples with dramatically different worldviews juggling complex lives.
I don’t remember when I was told that I was adopted; it’s just something I’ve always known. I was placed in my parents’ home on St. Patrick’s Day, about a month after I was born.
You wouldn’t guess from looking at our family photos that I was adopted. At the time, adoption agencies placed children in homes where they wouldn’t stand out. But sharing physical characteristics didn’t erase a feeling that I was different from my parents and my little brother.
My brother was a surprise for my parents, and he had something I never would — a sense of belonging.
He belonged, and I felt like I didn’t.
My grandfather gave me my first real feelings of emotional connection, and we did that through the art we shared. I learned from Grandpa that art is a powerful medium that builds relationships with others, no matter where we come from.
I spent precious time at his kitchen table learning about his craft, his profession, and our shared passion. He was a professional painter, but that was just the beginning of his extraordinary talents.
He taught me how to draw, shadow, mix colors, and paint. He taught me how to sing and harmonize, how to find humor in everything, how to crack pecans with my teeth (much to Granny’s dismay), and how to stay optimistic through adversity.
Our connection was formed by something stronger than genetics.
To this day one of my most prized possessions is his box of paint brushes. They sit inside his roll-top desk in our family room.
Every time I see them, I am reminded that I do belong and that I do have a connection, even though he’s gone.
I was a high-achieving student and excelled in academics. I strove for perfection and the highest level of achievement in whatever I did, from academics, hobbies, and athletics, to music.
This worked until about junior high when subjects like math became exponentially challenging, homework became increasingly more involved, and tests required more planning, attention, and prolonged mental effort. Learn more about my struggles as an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder in relationship HERE.
But there was one talent I didn’t lose. In fact, it was beginning to blossom — art. I found solace in drawing, sketching, and creating. I’m thankful I discovered this lifelong passion. As I was growing up I still felt isolated and longed for a bigger connection with my family.
That connection came in an unexpected way.
As a teenager, I had to “share my friends” with a brother who had developmental delays, behavioral issues, learning disorders, and physical health concerns. It was a major embarrassment to a young girl to have a hyperactive, annoying, impulsive brother who lacked social skills, but it would teach me valuable lessons that helped me grow, from an annoyed older sister to a compassionate therapist.
As a young adult, I had to assume responsibility for the long-term health and care of both of my mother and father as they fell victim to Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, respectively. Once my mother was diagnosed, my father's health rapidly deteriorated and he passed away. After years in intensive nursing care, my mother also died recently.
Shakespeare couldn’t have written a sadder tragedy.
But I know that these struggles only strengthen my resolve to preserve connections with those who mattered most to me. And preserving any connection, whether it’s within your own family or within other relationships, takes work.
Don't give up on yours. Let me help.
"I loved it that Jenn could relate to my ADHD issues and had a clear understanding of the stress it causes.
She was warm and empathetic, and we BOTH felt an immediate and sustained connection. She was easy to trust on every level..."
-Couples Retreat Client