Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action you take. You are the builder and architect of your own life, fortune and destiny. – Alfred A. Montapert
An integral part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is homework (or action plan to some patients who are adverse to homework.) While counseling sessions are important, just as important is homework. When I work with my patients, we may do some activities related to problematic thinking, feeling/emotions, and behavior. In a typical session for anxiety or OCD, I might teach about anxiety/OCD and treatment, learn to about irrational beliefs, do exposure practices, or teach coping strategies among many other interventions. Based on what was done in session, I assign homework (or an action plan) to be completed before our next meeting.
Completing homework is important. Did you hear the old joke about the man who went up to another and asked, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The other man said, “Practice.” In many cases, it took months if not years to develop and ingrain your OCD or anxiety disorder. It is going to take much work to disrupt your anxiety/OCD. The patients who are successful in my practice are the ones who commit to doing their homework. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet or pill that will eliminate your OCD or anxiety disorder. Beating your OCD or anxiety requires committing to completing your homework.
If my patients don’t complete homework, I don’t give them a black check mark on their chart. Not completing homework is not ideal nor is it the end of the world. However, it is important to find out why homework is not completed; procrastination, apprehension, the dog ate the homework, etc. Addressing the resistance to completing homework is important because at the end of the day the work of counseling/psychotherapy is done outside of my office.
My job is to teach you to be your therapist. I love it when my patients say. “You’re fired” (he writes tongue in cheek.) By practicing the skills you learn in therapy, you learn to be your therapist. How do you beat your anxiety/OCD? Practice, practice, practice.
If you are ready to learn to be your therapist and beat OCD/anxiety or any other issue, please call me. I would be happy to discuss how I might help you and answer any questions.
Michael Manchester is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor practicing in Central Florida. His practice is located in downtown Orlando. Mike specializes in the treatment of OCD and Anxiety Disorders. He is a member of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, Diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and Certified Cognitive Therapist. He works with adults and adolescents and facilitates OCD support and psychotherapy groups and psychotherapy for individuals and families struggling with OCD.