Research in REBT\cognitive behavioral therapy has shown that your attempt to do homework is the most critical variable in achieving progress in psychotherapy. To change in ways that you desire, you first need to understand REBT’s core ideas and strategies and then soon after you need to implement these things into your life through new behaviors in challenging circumstances. Below is a list of homework recommendations. Keep in mind that any homework is better than no homework. Do not demand of yourself that you do homework correctly or you will avoid attempting to do homework. Allow yourself to do homework imperfectly, and in time you will see progress. You can bet on this!
The adage which applies here to homework is “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” You need to get yourself to do homework. I cannot do it for you.
Early Phase of Treatment Homework (Understanding phase)
- Read handouts and books to gain knowledge of REBT\cbt skills and ideas. Start with The REBT Pocket Companion Guide by Dr. Dryden which I have given to you.
- Forcefully repeat to yourself a few times per day the rational attitudes I have written on index cards and given to you.
- Go to REBTDoctor.com and sign up for my free emails on REBT. Read and act on those emails.
- Attend my free Saturday morning Zoom conversations and watch another person discuss a problem with me. Watching them struggle with their rigid and extreme self-defeating attitudes will help you learn REBT and apply it to your life.
- Listen to free audio recordings found at REBTDoctor.com while driving, cleaning, cooking, walking to work, etc. Listen to the same presentation multiple times to deepen your understanding.
- Watch the free video at REBTDoctor.com to gain a good understanding of REBT philosophy & skills.
- Practice listening to relaxation training audio or self-hypnosis audio found at REBTDoctor.com.
Middle Phase of Treatment Homework (Action\Implementation Phase)
- Experiment with writing down the letters ABCDE when upset or procrastinating and changing your Basic Attitude at point B through disputing and reflection.
- Experiment with new behaviors that are uncomfortable, awkward, unfamiliar and therapeutic
- Assertive behaviors
- Calculated risk-taking behaviors
- Practical shame attacks
- Experiment with Rational Emotive Imagery for 3 minutes per day for 30 days
- Use rewards and penalties to influence your behavior. For strong procrastination, avoidance and resistance, penalties that sting may be necessary.
- Use your phone’s recorder to make a recording in your voice of all the rational attitudes I have written on index cards for you. Then listen to it multiple times to enhance your conviction in those views.Make new recordings as my work with you goes on.
- Continue to refresh and deepen understanding of essential REBT skills and ideas by reading any book by Dr. Albert Ellis, Dr. Windy Dryden or me. Also relisten to REBT audio found at REBTDoctor.com when driving, cleaning, bathing, cooking, walking to work, etc.
Homework to Maintain Treatment Gains (Maintenance\Self-Therapy Phase)
- Repeat any previous homework assignments you have found to be helpful in the past.
- Create homework assignments aimed at extending your growth as a person and maintaining gains already achieved.
- Continue to use & master new behaviors (e.g., assertiveness, calculated risk-taking, shame attacks).
- Teach and model REBT to others in a way that is not disagreeable to them.
- Download and read Dr. Ellis’s short paper on How to Maintain Your Treatment Gains which is found below: