Practice Makes… You Better!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Homework
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, we take great pride in providing evidence-based CBT therapy in Central Florida.
There are more than 500 types of psychotherapy, with new ones emerging every year. Although a few of these new types of treatment have been researched with mixed results in scientific studies, no one really knows if any of the others actually work. Despite some therapist’s claim that all types of therapy are equally effective, research continues to support that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is superior to other types of therapy. The problem is that very few individuals actually receive CBT once they are in therapy. In 2009, a study conducted by leading mental-health researchers found that despite countless studies proving CBT’s effectiveness, most psychotherapists and psychologist only use CBT part-time or combined with other types of therapy. Many therapists avoid CBT because they have not received sufficient training, and some think that CBT consists of a manualized, rigid treatment approach, but when it’s done correctly, it’s anything but.
CBT has been shown to be very effective for the treatment of anxiety disorders (e.g. panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety), depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). But it only works when it is provided by clinicians who have been well-trained in CBT and when the person who is in therapy is motivated, sticks to treatment recommendations, does homework and finishes treatment. In order to be effective, CBT requires that the individual seeking treatment is committed to working on cognitive, behavioral and lifestyle changes.
To be effective, most evidence-based psychological treatments require active involvement by the person in therapy, both in session with the therapist and by practicing the skills learned in session in their daily lives. Increasing skills through “homework” is an important component of treatment and is considered necessary in order to gain insight and learn new skills. With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), this takes the form of doing a variety of assignments such as doing behavioral experiments, exposure to feared situations, and self-monitoring.
Empirical research consistently finds that completing homework assignments in CBT has a strong impact on reducing the severity of anxiety disorders and OCD. Well-trained CBT therapists consider homework to be very important and feel strongly that doing between-session assignments is an important aspect of therapeutic outcomes. Because facilitating and encouraging their clients to complete homework assignments is so important, CBT therapists receive specialized training in this core CBT skill. However, therapists not specifically trained in CBT often do not see the importance of homework and do not take the time to design, assign and review homework tasks with their clients. This typically leads to a less favorable outcome.
Although it is tempting to think that coming to weekly therapy and receiving a hefty dose of supportive reassurance will help you to become less anxious, this is rarely the case. Talking about the past and figuring out the “root” of one’s anxiety or problem hoping this will lead to a life changing “ah-ha moment” that makes the problem go away is also not likely. CBT therapists instead focus on what to do about the problem one is currently experiencing, which is learning corrective thinking and practicing corrective behaviors.
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, our trained Cognitive Behavior Therapists will help you to face your anxiety by teaching you to focus on current behaviors and thoughts instead of trying to figure out the past. Our therapists will assign you homework, and lots of it! At GroundWork Counseling, we believe that good therapy is evidence-based and we acknowledge that CBT requires motivation, hard work, and commitment.
Speak With An Orlando CBT Therapist