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What Is Educational Psychotherapy?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2014
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Educational psychotherapy is a field of psychotherapy that helps children, adolescents, and adults cope with issues related to learning and education. This kind of therapy can help those with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder, as well as those with disorders such as Asperger's syndrome or Tourette syndrome. Students who suffer from education-related anxiety, problems processing information, poor interpersonal skills, and poor study skills can also benefit from educational psychotherapy. Practitioners of educational psychotherapy typically seek to help students improve memory and attention skills, as well as information processing skills. This is typically done by encouraging students to repeat exercises designed to improve attention, memory, and information processing.

Experts believe it is possible for people of all ages to improve learning skills through educational psychotherapy. Common educational problems for children and adults include trouble concentrating and trouble remembering information. Many people who struggle to learn have problems processing the sounds of letters and words. They may struggle to understand how letters and words represent the sounds of verbal speech. This is generally considered to be a problem with information processing, which can usually be improved through professionally guided practice.

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Children and adults who struggle educationally may develop secondary problems related to poor academic focus. Many suffer from feelings of low self-esteem and anxiety related to low performance levels in school or at work. They may fail to develop strong interpersonal skills. Educational psychotherapists typically strive to create an environment in which clients feel comfortable and safe. In the therapeutic environment, clients learn not to take mistakes too seriously, to keep trying, and to celebrate successes.

Poor study skills and lack of personal organization can occur with many learning disabilities. Many people who struggle in an educational setting do so because they have problems with memory. Memory problems can contribute to poor organization of study materials, since these individuals may not remember where they have put their things. Retaining information can also be difficult for those who struggle with memory problems. Educational psychotherapy often attempts to improve memory through memory-enhancing exercises, and to teach organizational and study skills to help students complete their work more efficiently.

Problems with concentration can often be improved through exercises geared toward encouraging mental focus. Educational psychotherapists will typically ask their clients to focus on a particular stimulus, to the exclusion of all else. Some educational psychologists will do this by encouraging the practice of meditation. As mental focus exercises are repeated, clients typically gain better concentration skills.

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