Focus: Ritalin vs. Davis

Photo by Kindel Media

Recently I had a wonderful 10-year-old boy on an attention mastery program. Let’s say the boy’s name was Misha. Misha was diagnosed with ADHD. The correction program took place at the very end of the summer, right ahead of the return to school.

Before the program, Misha took Ritalin as prescribed by a doctor for about six months. That is, almost all winter, spring, and early summer. And he really liked the state that appeared after taking the drug: easier to learn, easier to focus, and without any effort on his part. I swallowed a pill in the morning – and the whole day is fine! So Mishenka had minimal motivation to carry out the program.

According to our standards, we cannot conduct a program with people taking such drugs, and even immediately after stopping their intake. Therefore, Misha’s mother, after consulting with the doctor, canceled the drug for the entire summer vacation so that we could carry out the program at the end of the summer.

To be honest, I had a special, research interest in this program. I was very interested to know how Davis focusing differs from “chemical” focusing. Does it make sense to strain at all and carry out correction programs?

And so Misha, on the first day of the program, received all three tools for self-control of attention: control of internal energy, release of internal tension, and, of course, how to focus and notice that the focus is gone, and what influenced it. Strictly monitoring my own state (impatience raises the level of internal energy and causes tension!) I went through the entire program to the very end, allowing Misha to practice a lot in using his new instruments.

And so, on the very last day, holding my breath, I asked Mishenka the cherished question: what, in fact, is the difference?

Photo by Alex Green

And he answered me that the very state of focus – it is the same, but focus after taking the drug – comes with tension. That is, you are in focus, but you yourself are feeling tense. And the new type of focus, following Davis, is easy and pleasant, without stress!

Let me explain what is happening. The point is that the focus never disappears by itself. If the focus goes away, there is always a reason for this. And this reason is confusion. Confusion from an incomprehensible term, symbol, incomprehensible instruction … Confusion accumulates (if it is not noticed and the incomprehensible is not clarified), which leads to disorientation. Disorientation is a state of consciousness when you are immersed in your inner world. Confusion creates inner tension and increases the level of inner energy. Disorientation saves us: we plunge into the inner world for relaxation, as well as for finding solutions from confusion.

Let me give you an example: Quickly, in 5 seconds, please calculate in your head the sum of 365 + 293.

Go ahead, I’ve tracked the time! Are you strained? Gone into your world to count? For example, I always imagine a piece of paper in a frame and start counting in columns; that is, I use my imagination to get rid of confusion.

Photo by Kindel Media

Both focus and disorientation are equally important for learning: correct reading and understanding of an assignment require focus, and finding a solution requires disorientation. “Hop on, hop off,” as the English say ( “jump there, jump back” – in Russian). To write down the correct answer – again you need to focus: hop on.

Ronald Davis, when creating the method, provided for everything! When focusing with Davis, the person notices that they are confused and is able to self-correct. If disorientation has arisen nevertheless, then we can get rid of internal tension, reduce the level of internal energy and focus will easily return! We control focus with three tools.

Ritalin and similar drugs do not give this freedom. They try to chemically suppress disorientation. Therefore, stress and tension accumulate. And that’s not counting the fact that in order to fall asleep, we need to be completely disoriented. Therefore, one of the side effects of taking the drug is sleep problems. And also with appetite, not to mention getting used to it. And if a person stops taking the drug, all the symptoms come back.

Do not get the wrong idea: I am not against these drugs! I am for any help, no matter how it is expressed! Of course, these medicines should be taken only under the supervision of doctors and in the prescribed dosage.

However, the Davis method seems to me to be ideal for solving such problems. Of course, in the end the choice is always yours!

This article is a translation. You can read the original Russian version of this article at

For more information about Davis tools for attention focus: