The Value Of Therapeutic Homework
What can a person do between therapy sessions to make the most meaningful improvement possible toward his or her goals? Although the answer is somewhat different for every person, this excellent question should be asked by anybody who wants to most effectively utilize therapy to improve their life.
I'm very willing to "give homework" between sessions to build therapeutic gains. Sometimes these are very simple practice steps such as asking for help or saying no. I could just as well come up with a hundred different, since we all have blind spots that keep us from recognizing the importance of simple beneficial exercises that may be obvious to others.
I often ask clients to simply pay attention to anything positive that occurs in the interim before the next session. Asking "how did that happen" is an excellent question to ponder when noticing these positive occurrences. I find that the very act of looking for positive events heightens the likelihood of recognizing and benefiting from them.
I often give suggestions for what to do between sessions, and I hope that my clients will also do this for themselves. I'll often ask something like "What did you do with what we last talked about? How did you carry our conversation into your life? What did you do or notice that was relevant or meaningful to you?" To an alert mind, learning opportunities abound! Life has a marvelous way of presenting little challenges or opportunities for new behavior that may not be noticeable to anybody except the person to whom they occur.
This means that there is inevitably some useful behavior to practice between sessions. It may be the attempt to influence your own thoughts or emotions in some positive direction or some other relatively simple effort that may result in a meaningful improvement in some vital area. While I am happy to provide useful suggestions, clients can easily do this for themselves, and those who challenge themselves in this way are likely to make further gains in quicker time than those who don't.
Teachers and coaches know that regular practice away from instructional time is the optimal way to build capability, strength and resilience. Repetitive practice between lessons points out particular areas that may benefit from additional focus. The same holds true for the many valuable living skills addressed in a counseling session. Regardless of who suggests it, pick out a specific area for focus and devote attention and effort to its perfection. Positive results are sure to follow!
I hope you will take a little time to read some of my many other articles to educate, encourage and inspire you along your journey to a life you richly deserve. If I can provide more personal assistance to you, either in person, by phone or via Skype, please don't hesitate to contact me.