What blocks you from working on your issues? - Homework

I really like our topic this week! This can be a refresher course for anyone in therapy, or great preparation for those thinking of joining counseling. The specific topics we're discussing this week are so important to make sure you have higher chances of success in your therapy journey. Here's the next roadblock that prevents working on issues:

Failure to do assigned homework.

Homework can include:

  • reading handouts
  • reading a recommended a book that touches on a topic the therapist believes would be of great benefit
  • suggesting a couple (or individual) have a conversation outside our office with each other (or as the individual, have a conversation with someone else)
  • journaling
  • refraining from a behavior or habit

Work has to be done outside the set 50 minute therapy session. If the only time "work" gets done is inside the session, then there's going to be slow progress, which leaves a person feeling frustrated, impatient, and hopeless. It's at this very point we see some people give up, thinking "there's no point in trying", or believes the therapy isn't working......which may not necessarily be true. Another roadblock to working on issues is:

An inability to hold back hurtful, attacking words during times of conflict.

It's very natural to engage in what we call "dirty fighting" (passive-aggressive comments, eye rolling, below-the-belt comments). However, once you enter therapy, a good therapist will not allow these types of behavior to continue, and will encourage you to stop them when you're at home as well. Individuals and couples who still insist or continue to say hurtful things during conflict will prolong the process of being able to heal and repair damage in their relationships (whether it's with friends/family or romantically).

The key is to practice self-control and to ask yourself, "Is what I'm about to say going to help or hurt this situation? If I say _____ this way, is the person on the other end going to be able to hear my point-of-view, or are they going to go on the defense because my words are attacking?". Remember, the goal of healthy conflict is to build bridges, not tear them down. Our words need to reflect care and concern. At this point you will see healing, true problem-solving, and repair begin to take place.

Thank you for reading!

Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counselingat Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.