How is homework useful in CBT?


CBT The core principal of CBT is to prepare patients to change thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Homework is beneficial in CBT which decreases psychological symptoms. This therapeutic homework helps the individual practice coping skills and restructure destructive beliefs. Homework processes should be explained clearly by the therapist and should directly relate to a specific goal. The methods should be rehearsed in session and thoughtful out-of-session practices should be scheduled. This leads to an elimination of obstacles. According to Minden (2017), plans, insights, and intentions that emerge during a therapy session are at “risk of being buried by patterns of negative thinking and behavior†without consistent homework. Psychotherapy in addition to homework enhances it’s effectiveness and individuals that steadily complete homework assignments have improved mental health outcomes. CBT for depression has shown success, especially with individuals who complete the assigned homework. Haller and Watzke (2021) state that engagement with homework and the therapist’s actions to assign and discuss the homework show efficacy. Individuals who show higher homework engagement experience lower depressive symptoms (Kazantzis, 2021).


CBT How is Homework Useful in CBT?

.  Homework is a crucial component of  CBT  and inherent to CBT.  According to Tang and Kreindler (2017), in the context of CBT, homework refers to specific, structured, therapeutic activities that are routinely discussed by the CBT practitioner and the therapist.   The therapist prescribes numerous forms of homework, including self-reflective journals and symptom logs. Therapeutic homework aims at equipping patients with tools to alter emotions, behaviors, thoughts, and how they interrelate.  According to Haller and Watzke (2021), homework might be described as activities executed between sessions so as to practice skills that have been discussed and developed during the therapy in the natural environment. Instead of entirely discussing difficulties in an isolated setting, the CBT practitioner encourages patients to deal with the problem in their day by day life with the aim of generating and maintaining a therapeutic effect.

 Haller and Watzke (2021) explain that the hypothesized mechanism of the outcome of homework builds on the CBT’s skills-building approach.  As therapeutic exercises offer patients an opportunity to collect information and put the new skills that they have gained into practice.  Ultimately, when patients practice new skills outside therapy, they become conscious of the problem and are able to consolidate new behaviors and beliefs.  Homework thus functions as a method of shifting strategies outside therapy sessions and allows patients to carry out novel skills in real-life situations so as to sustain therapeutic gain (Haller & Watzke, 2021).  Tang and Kreindler (2017) emphasize that homework is purposefully crafted by the CBT practitioner to correct and minimize the psychopathology of patients. The intention of these exercises is to enable patients to carry out and strengthen the skills that they learn during therapy sessions in real life.


Haller, E., & Watzke, B. (2021). The Role of Homework Engagement, Homework-Related Therapist Behaviors, and Their Association with Depressive Symptoms in Telephone-Based CBT for Depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 45, 224-235.

Tang, W., & Kreindl7). Supporting Homework Compliance in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Essential Features of Mobile Apps. JMIR Mental Health, 4(2), e20.

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