The Value of Homework Post-Therapy

Posted on April 17, 2017

Photo: flickr

As part of cognitive behavioural therapy and other forms of evidence-based treatment, homework may be assigned to clients by therapists for them to practise skills and coping techniques, as well as to restructure destructive beliefs. It is no doubt that the effectiveness of the psychotherapy sessions depends on the quality of the session itself, but several studies have proven that doing homework methodically and consistently throughout the rest of the week may be even more essential. If homework is not done, the good work that has been done during therapy sessions can risk being pushed to the side by swarms of negative thoughts or behavioural patterns that the person is having therapy for in the first place. This could then reduce the effectiveness of therapy sessions, or slow down the progress or recovery of the client.

The results of several statistical summaries have painted a clearer picture of the overall impact of homework on psychotherapy treatment outcomes. In one study, the average client in the group that did homework reported better treatment outcomes than around 7 in 10 of those who did not do homework. Another study measured the effectiveness of psychotherapy versus the level of compliance of the clients to complete their homework assignments. Greater compliance led to improved treatment outcomes. A third study that looked at the relationship between the quality and quantity of homework to the treatment outcomes. It was found that the effects of doing homework were still visible 1-12 months after the completion of treatment, and that both quality and quantity matter.

Ultimately, it is evident that having homework as part of the psychotherapy recovery process is helpful to clients, and those who consistently and dutifully complete their homework assignments tend to have better treatment outcomes. The quality of the homework done may also matter just as much as the quantity of homework completed. To be sure, homework assignments have to be prepared meticulously and should be given to a client with a specific goal in mind. The therapist will have to take the time to explain the purpose of the homework assignment and rehearse the techniques suggested with the client when necessary. Only then will giving homework post-psychotherapy be truly effective.


Category(s):Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Other

Source material from Psychology Today


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