The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy : Learning and Functioning with Diversity book cover
2nd Edition

The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy
Learning and Functioning with Diversity

ISBN 9781138240537
Published September 7, 2017 by Routledge
388 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Despite the wide array of services offered to students with learning disabilities, attention-deficit disorder, and a variety of comorbid conditions, large numbers of students are caught in the struggle of surviving school. Unfortunate school experiences may impact their sense of self and the degree of tenacity with which they pursue further training or challenging opportunities in the workplace. These are the people for whom educational therapy provides relief, enlightenment, and the coveted prize of success.

The second edition of The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy, the first textbook in its field, provides a comprehensive perspective of this interdisciplinary profession and practice, reaching out to a more global audience. The book describes the scope and practice of educational therapy from its European roots to its growing presence in the United States, providing readers with case studies and research that illustrate the work of educational therapists across the lifespan in diverse settings.

Interdisciplinary Perspective — Other books focus on either educational or therapeutic interventions but rarely discuss the blend and synergy of disciplines (e.g., special education, neuropsychology, assessment, and social work) that are the hallmark of this unique profession.

Illustrative Cases — The text draws heavily on case studies as a means of understanding the practice of educational therapy, especially the dynamic relationship that exists between therapist and client. Numerous charts and tables provide visuals for educational therapists as well as allied professionals, parents, and those with learning challenges.

Expertise — The editors are both highly visible educational therapists. Chapter authors are either experienced educational therapists or allied professionals who have made scholarly contributions to the profession, such as Trisha Waters, Roslyn Arnold, and George McCloskey.

In addition to benefiting educational therapists and students, this book is appropriate for professionals who work in related fields such as special education, regular education, school and educational psychology, neuropsychology, school counseling, psychology, speech and language pathology, art therapy, occupational therapy, and social work, as well as in medicine and psychiatry.


The second edition of The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy: Learning & Functioning with Diversity has revised and updated the chapters from the first edition, and added three new chapters which further define and broaden this field by exploring diverse perspectives:

  • Chapter 10, "Cultivating Character Development: Educational Therapy’s Impact on Individuals, Families, Schools, Educational Policy, and Society" by Maxine Ficksman
  • Chapter 12, "Women and Girls Who Are Disenfranchised: A Global and Interdisciplinary Approach to Educational Therapy" by Jane Utley Adelizzi
  • Chapter 17, "Examining the Efficacy of Graduate Programs in Educational Therapy at California State University, Northridge (CSUN): Educational Therapy Intern, Graduate and Parent Perspectives" by Marcy Dann, Nancy Burstein, Tamarah Ashton, and Sue Sears.

These additional chapters, supported by brain-based research, characterize the shifts and changes experienced in a range of settings. Through the treatment alliance, educational therapists address students’ and clients’ ability to experience a more comprehensive model of learning, dependent upon the psychological, social, emotional, cultural and academic environments. The three new chapters range in focus from formal research and graduate training in the field of educational therapy to students throughout the lifespan whose social and educational experiences require a careful eye to not only the academic task at hand but also to the ways in which they cope and adapt to a range of environments and challenges. Lastly, educational therapy’s empathic foundation in practice is exemplified when we consider the global experience of students who strive to learn in situations and settings that threaten their survival and disenfranchisement from society.

Table of Contents


Albert M. Galaburda, MD



Part I Theoretical and Historical Framework of Educational Therapy

1 The Dynamic of Educational Therapy: Theoretical Framework and Model

Maxine Ficksman and Jane Utley Adelizzi

2 Developmental Stages of the Educational Therapy Process

Karen A. Kass

3 Educational Therapy’s Ancestry and Migration

Gail Werbach, Barbara Kornblau, and Carole Slucki

Part II Perspectives on the Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy

4 Empathic Intelligence in Educational Therapy: An International Perspective

Roslyn Arnold

5 Educational Therapy across the Lifespan: The Case of Amy

Maxine Ficksman

6 Sitting at the Table: Accommodating Diagnoses and Approach in Educational Therapy

Jane Utley Adelizzi

7 Multilingual College Students with Learning Disabilities

Patricia Mytkowicz and Lynn Abrahams

8 Adults in Educational Therapy: A Triage Approach

Linda Clow Lawton

Part III Assessment and Intervention in Educational Therapy Amid Diversity

9 Applying an Executive Function Framework in Educational Therapy

George McCloskey, Alex Harne & Sarah Levine Allen

10 Cultivating Character Development: Educational Therapy’s Impact on Individuals, Families, Schools, Educational Policy, and Society

Maxine Ficksman

11 Story Links: Using Therapeutic Storywriting with Parents and Pupils Who Are at Risk of Exclusion

Trisha Waters

12 Women and Girls Who Are Disenfranchised: A Global and Interdisciplinary Approach to Educational Therapy

Jane Utley Adelizzi

Part IV Case Management and Navigating Multisystems

13 The Management of a Private Practice in Educational Therapy

Ann Kaganoff

14 Ethics and Etiquette in Educational Therapy: Recurrent Ethical Issues in Professional Practice

Susan Fogelson and Ellen Opell

15 The Collaboration between Educational Therapy and Mental Health Professionals: Case Study Analyses

Beverly Metcalf, Mickey Kirar Ashmun, and Natalie O’Byrne

Part V Future Perspectives and Research in Educational Therapy

16 Workplace Issues of College-Educated Adults with Learning Disabilities

Diane Goss

17 Examining the Efficacy of Graduate Programs in Educational Therapy at California State University, Northridge (CSUN): Educational Therapy Intern, Graduate and Parent Perspectives

Marcy Dann, Nancy Burstein, Tamarah Ashton, and Sue Sears

18 The Voice of Educational Therapy for the Future: An Integrative Analysis

Jane Utley Adelizzi and Maxine Ficksman




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Maxine Ficksman, MA, BCET, FAET, a board certified educational therapist and published author, has worked in regular and special education for the past 45 years, specializing in guiding students with learning difficulties and their families through the educational process. For the past 25 years, she has developed, coordinated, and taught graduate-level educational therapy training programs.

Jane Utley Adelizzi, PhD, BCET, ATR, is a board certified educational therapist, registered art therapist, and published author whose work addresses the impact of psychological trauma on learning and functioning in individuals who experience difficulty in a range of educational settings. She has worked in higher education for over 30 years as an instructor, administrator, and disabilities specialist.


"Based in scientific evidence and pointed case material, and written to enhance the cognitive, social, and emotional needs of the wide variety of individuals with learning challenges, this second edition of a classic hits all the marks. Highly recommended for those interested in research, practice, and professional development related to educational therapy. A tour de force, this book embraces a multi-level approach spanning biology to culture and a developmental approach for professionals and clients. It is both sophisticated and readable."

—Stephen P. Hinshaw, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, and Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, USA

"I highly recommend the second edition of The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy for professionals pursuing a career in educational therapy, as well as graduate students in the fields of education, psychology, counseling, social work, and art therapy, to name a few. The new edition is greatly informed by the latest advances in brain research, and, most importantly, this resource offers direct implications that such investigations have on the development of state-of-the-art interventions and programs."

—Michael E. Spagna, PhD, Dean, Michael D. Eisner College of Education, California State University, Northridge, USA

"This second edition of The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy, edited by Ficksman and Adelizzi, provides insights not only for those considering educational therapy as a career but also for others in the field of education, particularly special education teachers and school administrators. Clearly defining both the concept of educational therapy and the place it holds in the educational model, the text also addresses unique issues such as successful practice management, gender disenfranchisement, and adult learning. The use of case studies makes the material extremely readable and focuses attention on the practical application of the theories presented. The book is a must-read for all interested in the interface between learning and affective development and the role that empathetic relationships play in the interaction of an educational therapist and her client to facilitate learning at any stage of development."

—Patricia O. Quinn, MD Developmental Pediatrician, Washington, D.C., USA

"Ficksman and Adelizzi pioneered the first scholarly textbook for the field of educational therapy, particularly notable for its use in graduate-level training programs as they emerged in this burgeoning field. Now they have enriched the content with three new chapters: 1) expanding understanding of the collaborative aspects of the field; 2) a novel exploration of character development through the interactions of the treatment alliance; and 3) reporting new research on the efficacy of the graduate training programs at California State University, Northridge. As always, the case studies bring to life the range of clients’ stories and interventions that yielded success. This book is a must-read for the neophytes in the field as well as the veterans who long for more literature about the work we do."

—Dorothy Ungerleider, BCET, FAET, Founding President, Association of Educational Therapists, USA

"Many years ago, I was told by a colleague who knew the data that fewer than 50% of teachers colleges had coursework in child development. I found this puzzling and even outrageous. How could one teach anyone if one didn't know something about how the learner learns? (And it's not as though United States lacks a tradition of good developmental psychology!) A lack of respect for the learner, an over-focus on "diagnosing," and a lack of imagination for the lived experience of a child who is struggling to acquire skills that other children seem to be acquiring with markedly less effort has for too long been the mindset of our special education system. But—thankfully—in stepped the educational therapists! Learning is not just cognitive; mastery is not just acquisition of a skill. These involve the whole person—shaping the enjoyment of new capacities, the motivation to keep on learning, the developing sense of self, and the view of the future. Educational therapists not only know this: their work is founded on an appreciation of the "whole-child" (person)—supporting and developing thinking, emotions, and regulation in a dynamic dance as children learn throughout their childhoods and beyond. The first edition of The Clinical Practice of Educational Therapy was groundbreaking; the second edition extends the contribution of the first to bring the principles and practice of ET to a greater audience. All special education teachers—not to mention regular education teachers and school principals—should read this book."

—Jane Holmes Bernstein, Ph.D., Center for Neuropsychology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, USA

"People with learning disabilities often experience emotional, adaptive, and social difficulties beyond (or as a consequence of) their specific academic learning impairments. Educational therapy is the professional discipline uniquely designed to address the convergence of these problems. The book portrays, through theory and case study examples, exactly how a dyadic relationship can transform a client’s life for the better. A therapist who uses knowledge of learning disabilities to teach, problem-solve, and advocate and who simultaneously builds client self-esteem, optimism, and autonomy is a uniquely talented professional. This book provides valuable insight into the skills required of a qualified educational therapist and the healing effects of informed therapeutic relationships."

—Louisa Moats, Ed.D., Moats Associates Consulting, Inc.