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I never liked the term homework that is used in CBT therapy. I mean, who enjoyed homework at school? Not me. Whenever I used the term homework with clients I put air quotes around it – “homework”. I would also explain that it’s completely optional. And no one is getting marked on it. 🙂

Although the word “homework” was not quite right, the idea of working on something in-between sessions has great value. One of the reasons I like doing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with clients is because they really get involved in their own healing. Homework keeps clients involved in-between our sessions, in their day to day life, thinking about what they are trying to change or paying more attention to their thoughts, feelings or behaviours so that we can put in tools or techniques to make changes.

I just read that the Beck Institute (Dr. Aaron Beck is the founder of CBT) has started using the term Action Plan instead of homework. I love it! Action Plan sounds collaborative, goal oriented, and positive. So, I am going to start switching my terms from Homework to Action Plan – It may take me awhile to make this change stick, but I will use CBT techniques to help me 😉 I will also be changing the wording on my web page and communication bit by bit. That’s my Action Plan.

Mary Cross, MSW RSW, therapist.

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