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It blew our mind when we discovered financial therapists and family assistants exist. But when we read about homework therapists—mental health experts/tutor hybrids—a new bar was set for professional helpfulness. Real talk? We know law firm partners who, thanks to the Common Core curriculum, are completely stumped by second grade math. We also know they endure screaming fights with second graders as a result. Who wouldn’t need therapy after that?

Enter homework therapists: Often clinical psychologists, they soothe students’ anxiety with everything from mindfulness breathing techniques to lavender-scented “stress dough” while simultaneously helping them stay on task for class. Since their therapeutic backgrounds are at the forefront, nothing related to a student’s social-emotional situation, from clique culture to parental pressure, is off-limits. The endgame, however, is always to reduce stress and optimize academic performance.

The fees for such a service can be astronomical; some charge up to $600 for around an hour, according to The New York Times. But these professionals motivate student-clients in ways parents sometimes can’t—at least not without facing destructive, door-slamming battles. Reports The Times: “Tutors make themselves available for last-minute interventions before midterms or when writing projects are due. They respond to texts and emails and often send their own, nudging students to finish a homework assignment or stay positive before and during a big exam.”

young girl frustrated with homework
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While it can all read as over-the-top luxury, it’s not only about paving a kid’s path to the Ivy League. A student whose grades are cratering will often have anxiety, depression and self-esteem issues that are either the catalyst for or result of their challenges in school. Educators and clinicians at Beyond BookSmart, a national executive functioning coaching company, serve students from elementary school through college who are struggling with everything from poor organizational, study or time-managements skills to perfectionism, test anxiety, learning disabilities and ADHD.

The literature from Brooklyn Learning Center, which offers HomeWork Therapy, reads: “In our culture we separate the emotional from the academic. When students are having trouble learning to read, we send them to a reading specialist to shore up their reading skills, and to a therapist to help them cope with their feelings about having difficulty reading. HomeWork Therapy addresses both issues simultaneously. Our dual training as psychologists and learning specialists allows us to move fluidly between the emotional and cognitive aspects of a student’s individual challenges… Once students feel confident they begin to develop more positive views of themselves as learners, which ultimately leads to an overall enhanced sense of self.” Parents may never comprehend their middle schooler’s robotics syllabus. But if they can identify the building blocks of self-esteem, that’s an A in our book.

RELATED: 6 Scientifically Proven Ways to Raise a Star Student

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