Ellen Gray Psychotherapy & Counseling, PLLC

Serving the North Carolina Triangle Area

Academic Difficulty

     Often mental health problems manifest as academic difficulties.  There are many reasons for this—all different.  Depression, for instance, tends to cause concentration problems.  Anxiety can cause preoccupation with personal emotional comfort that dominates one’s attention during classroom and study time.  Learning disabilities and attention deficits affect academic performance.  Less likely, there are issues of immaturity and failure to develop strong habits that plague students transitioning to college.  What is rarely the case is a deficit of ability and potential.  Psychotherapy, and particularly the technological adjuncts that we now combine with therapy can be enormously helpful in shepherding students through these difficulties and building their confidence.  Occasionally the problem is biological, and there are nutritional and biomedical interventions that can make all the difference when this is the case.

     In our practice we work with many secondary and college students who are struggling academically with gratifying success.  With adult learners, we find that neurofeedback is invaluable.  You can learn more about neurofeedback elsewhere on this website.  The intervention consists of non-intrusive brain-wave training.  It can help one learn to focus and can calm anxiety appreciably.  With younger children, we often introduce HeartMath training.  This is a biomedically-based program to reduce anxiety and increase resilience.  It is administered through an electronic “game” played on the smartphone or other electronic device and is therefore a pleasant experience for the student and compliance seems not to be a problem.  Nutritional interventions are useful for methylation problems and pyrrole disorders, to name just two.  These are easily tested for and in both cases the fix is simply supplementation with particular vitamins and minerals.


     We customize our diagnosis and treatment to each patient.  No two people are alike and we urge you to be suspicious of any one-size-fits-all approach that you have heard of or are considering.  Nothing works for everyone, but careful listening and pattern-matching can usually help us find the intervention that helps you.  We are a careful and caring practice and we will hang in with you until we have made a difference in your life.  If you are experiencing academic difficulties, please give us a try.