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  • Writer's pictureRikki Davlin

This Assignment is Going to be Graded!

In the many years I have been a practicing therapist, I occasionally have clients who want to make sure the do therapy "right". I have also had folks who after being given skills to practice, come back worried that I'd be "mad" if they didn't do their homework. If you read my post titled "My Therapist isn't Helping Me", you'll remember that, this is your journey through life, I'm simply the tour guide.

In therapy, you will get tasked with things to do. It is 100% up to you whether you do them or not. It's possible that in high school or college you were able to pass your classes without completing the assignments. In life, it's possible you are existing just fine without learning new things or doing anything differently. However, if it was working for you, you wouldn't be in therapy in the first place.

So, let me ease your burden. There is no wrong way to do therapy. The only way you can "fail" therapy is by not showing up. Some days you may have energy to practice the skills and that is great. Other days, you may have other priorities, that is also okay. It is my job as a therapist to ask "how's that working for you?". There are trade offs for our behavior choices. If you choose to binge on netflix and avoid your problems, that avoidance works for the moment. Inevitably, the problems resurface and you'll have to work on them eventually.

With regards to therapy, if you are not putting effort into the tools and skills you are given that is a choice. Pay attention to the choices you are making and how those choices are serving you. Maybe you thought you were ready to go on this journey, but life threw a curve ball and now your focus is elsewhere. That is OK. Press pause take care of business now, start back up again when you have the energy and time to devote to self-improvement. However, sometimes people use life as an excuse to never get started.

Life is not pass/fail and neither is therapy. Allow yourself the space to fall down and get back up. Leave the expectations at the door and practice breathing through the discomfort. This might be a bumpy ride.

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