At its core, Math Therapy is helping students overcome their negative relationship with math, math anxiety, and the effects of any math trauma they may have experienced. Math Therapy is not a stand-alone service, but part of multisensory math tutoring.
There is no certification in Math Therapy, no courses to take. It is a term I thought I made up until I saw Vanessa Vakharia, (AKA The Math Guru) and others use it. Math anxiety is real. Math trauma is real. The effects of math trauma are real.
How I provide Math Therapy is talking about the neuroscience of learning, multiple intelligences theory, neuroplasticity, and the dangers of comparing yourself to others. These conversations are combined with providing opportunities for students to experience math in a new, multisensory way. Multisensory math provides opportunities for students to experience math successes. Math Therapy builds on these successes to change how students perceive themselves and increase their self confidence.
To better serve my clients, I have read some trauma literature and attended the Attachment and Trauma Network’s Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Conference. I do not claim to be a trauma expert. Most of the time I feel like I don’t know what I am doing. However, I show up for my clients and listen. Young people need adults in their lives who do that.
Also, Vanessa Vakharia hosts the Math Therapy Podcast where she talks to adults about their math traumas and how their lives have been affected. I highly recommend it with the warning that there is swearing.