Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Homework Assignments
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that has been empirically tested for the treatment of various mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and anger. So let’s read more about the evolution of psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as about exposure therapy homework.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an approach that focuses on the client’s current symptomatology, sets specific goals and devises a plan working with the client to meet these treatment goals. The client’s upbringing and history are addressed in therapy as it pertains to his current symptomatology.
One’s learning history may be quite important in determining the etiology behind how someone thinks currently. A key component to effective Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves assigning the client assignments to be completed during the week before the next psychotherapy session. Meeting with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist alone is not nearly as effective as meeting with a therapist in conjunction with practicing the skills learned in therapy throughout the week.
Exposure Therapy Homework
In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, there are various types of homework assignments that a therapist may give a client to complete throughout the week. For anxious clients, it is common for a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to assign exposure homework sessions. Exposure work sessions involve having the clients practice exposure to the feared stimulus on his own throughout the week.
Exposure therapy within the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy session involves gradually exposing the client to the feared stimuli. Exposure may be imaginal or “in vivo” (in real life). If a homework assignment involves in vivo exposure, the client and therapist work collaboratively to come up with a realistic and doable homework assignment.
If a client has a fear, for example, of social situations, he needs greet to complete a homework assignment involving gradually making social plans. If a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist is using imaginal exposure, she may record the imaginal exposure therapy sessions and have the client listen to the recording a certain amount of times throughout the week, recording his anxiety level after each imaginal exposure session. Read also this post on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy for Anger Management.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapists often assign written homework assignments. During Cognitive Behavioral Therapy sessions, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist helps to alleviate negative emotions by restructuring the client’s belief system. This involves the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist disputing clients maladaptive and unrealistic beliefs.
As a homework assignment, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist may assign a client to dispute his own thoughts at home, documenting this thought disputation on a thought log and this also counts for parenting behavior. This type of homework assignment is important in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy because it allows the client to learn the skills used in the therapy session in real life. Over time, the client will be able to dispute his own thoughts and no longer necessitate a therapist for this reason.
Another type of homework assignment that a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist may assign as part of treatment involves having the client’s document activities that occur during the week. For depressed clients, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist emphasized the importance of filling up his schedule with activities that he finds pleasurable and one that he feels he has mastered. A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist may work with the client to feel his weekly schedule with enjoyable activities, thereby alleviating depressive symptoms.
There are many types of homework assignments that a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist may assign as part of effective treatment. However, there are certain techniques that the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist may use to ensure homework completion. One common barrier is that clients in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy failed to complete homework assignments, for various reasons.
It is important for the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to work collaboratively with a client in determining a work assignment. Working collaboratively provides a gauge of whether or not a client will actually complete a homework assignment. It is up to the Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to redact a homework assignment if the client has doubts about whether he will be able to complete the assignment. Before a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy session is over, the therapist and client should be on the same page as to what the expectations are for the homework assignment and speak about any barriers to its completion.
A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist should offer suggestions to the client about ways to make the homework assignment easier to complete. Homework assignments should be simple and involve practicing techniques that were used in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy session. If a client fails to complete a homework assignment, this should be addressed at the outset of a therapy session.
It is helpful for a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist to work with the client to complete and incomplete homework assignment at the outset of each session, to emphasize its importance. When clients complete their homework assignments, they often feel more confident about the therapeutic process because they see the results more quickly than they would with therapy sessions alone.