HomeWork Therapy®

There is little information in psychology or education literature that addresses the synthesis of psychological and educational therapy into a single treatment modality. The dearth of literature on treatment aimed at simultaneously addressing the cognitive and emotional spheres likely reflects what is taught in graduate schools of psychology and education. Typically, training programs in psychotherapy do not include courses on how to remediate executive function deficits or reading disabilities. Alternately, training programs in special education do not include courses on psychodynamic aspects of treatment. In Joseph Palumbo’s Learning Disorder and Disorders of the Self, a contemporary and excellent text on the toll learning disabilities take on a person’s

psychological development, he talks about care for someone’s academic problems as remediation — a service delivered by a teacher, and care for someone’s emotional troubles as psychotherapy — a service delivered by a therapist. Even here, in the context of an excellent, progressive discussion of the psychological factors involved in learning disabilities, the treatment of learning and psychological issues is separate, despite the sophisticated description of how an individual’s sense of self can be disturbed by a learning disability.

Students who come for HomeWork Therapy® are having some sort of trouble in school. When the therapist is able to help them with their homework and as a result school feels easier, students come to trust the therapist. The students learn that the therapist understands how they see the world. As Palumbo points out, many children with learning disabilities receive subtle, but painful feedback

from the environment that they do not see the world as others see it, and thus they do not feel connected to the teacher, the classroom or even the larger community in their neighborhood. This negative feedback impinges on the development of a cohesive self-narrative. Working in the HomeWork Therapy® format, therapists impart to the child a feeling of “being understood.”

How does HomeWork Therapy® improve students’ self-esteem? By focusing on process, not product. By teaching students how to solve SA T problems, not how to get them right by guessing and shortcuts. Students develop skills they can take with them for life.