Should a counselor expect me to do homework?

Certainly. James says (and Paul agrees) that faith should lead to works. If you make commitments in faith during a session, the counselor is likely to give you homework that grows out of those commitments, so that during the week to come you may begin to work them out in daily life. In this way, you will begin to do something other than merely talk about your problem, and you will find that counseling moves along swiftly as the result.

Other counselors expect everything to take place in the counseling session itself. They may wonder why counseling drags on indefinitely. The counselor is looked upon as a sort of "magician" who "does it to you, for you," during the "magic hour." This process of going to the "expert" for a treatment of "whiffle dust" rarely helps. The counseling session is an artificial setting. During the week, you must live out your commitment where you live and work every day, if you are going make lasting changes. It is not enough to do "head work" in a session. Inner commitment, while essential, is only the beginning. You must translate that commitment into daily activities. Jesus spoke of "teaching" people "to observe" what He "commanded" (Matthew 28:20), and Paul said "truth is in the interest of godliness" (Titus 1:1).

When homework is done, counseling does not sag in the middle of the week. And since the work isn't done by the counselor, counselees rarely become dependent on him. Your counselor will not permit half-hearted efforts or delays in doing homework. He expects faith to lead to works, and looks for evidence that commitments are genuine. Since homework is so important, do not fail to give it high priority. By working well at weekly assignments (beginning with the first session), you should complete counseling in about two, and no more than three months.

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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