Prof Lucie Byrne-Davis PhD CPsychol PFHEA FEHPS, Health Psychologist, Division of Medical Education, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester
Saiqa Naz: CBT Therapist, Sheffield Specialist Psychotherapy Service, Co-author IAPT BAME Positive Practice Guide, & Chair, BABCP Equality and Culture Special Interest Group)
Yorkshire and Humber Psychological Practitioners Network
Why I do more homework than my clients
If you've learned anything about therapy before, especially something structured like CBT, you will know about therapy 'homework' or between session work where you tasks are set to complete before you next meet up. Clients often have mixed feelings about doing this, sometimes it reminds them of school, for example. There's a lot of emphasis put on the idea of homework, so it's supposed to show how motivated people are and can affect the outcome (the more you put in, the more you get out). For the most part homework is set up with the therapist to be completed by the client, but sometimes there is also a bit of between session work done by the therapist too (usually completing surveys). However, that's not what I'm talking about when I say that I do homework for my clients.....
When I started looking at adapted interventions for the young people I work with in Early Intervention we started looking at ways to engage people using their own interests (this eventually became part of a project I run called heavy metal therapy but this isn't about that specifically). I started using music, lyrics and other media in the session that clients had selected to describe their feelings or experiences. What started happening was that people asked me to listen to stuff or watch things in between the sessions so that we could use the session time to reflect on it. Now obviously there are some pitfalls in this, not having infinite time being one of them, and the joys of playing very sweary metalcore in the office displeasing your colleagues. But, over time, I have been converted to this approach for a few reasons: