November 19, 2001
Homework That Heals
Working with a therapist or facilitator on a weekly basis is often an important step in growth and healing. The rate and completeness of healing in primal integration is a function of many things - therapist ability, therapist/client fit, client commitment, degree of damage, and support. One of the most overlooked factors is homework.
Homework that is suggested by the therapist and selected by the client signifies a responsibility for growth not encouraged by the top-down, authoritarian healing methods offered by big medicine and big religion. It places responsibility where it belongs - in the person who wants to get well - with the therapist/facilitator acting as an assistant and support.
In living and healing, it's common knowledge that the body needs a regular daily influx of food, water, medicine, or vitamins. Taking a dose of antibiotics once or twice a month won't help much. So it is with primal integration.
Think of it mathematically. If you go to your therapist for an hour and a half session once a week for a year, that's 78 hours of healing focus. If you do therapeutic homework for an hour each day between weekly sessions, that's an additional 313 hours. That's four times as much healing attention. To be conservative, let's say that the homework, since you're working on your own, is only half as effective as your therapist-facilitated sessions. It would still be the equivalent of two years of extra therapy - for free!
It's a question of how much you matter to yourself. Do you think you deserve to feel better and have a more fulfilling life? Do you think your health and happiness is more important than all the other things you fill your waking hours with? In North America, the average amount of time spent watching TV is four hours every day! Do you matter enough to take some of that time to help yourself? If not, what does that mean?
Resistance to self-direction, for whatever good reason, can delay the rate of healing. Usually, behind such resistance is a deep-rooted feeling from childhood that "It's too hard. I'm confused. I want someone to take care of me." We want Mom to do it. We want the doctor to do it. Homework sounds too much like school. These are important feelings to explore, but allowing them to control the situation will only interfere with the adult quest of healing.
Doing work on your own between weekly sessions can significantly advance your healing process. It's your life and your money. Why not give yourself the best?
So what is this homework? Depending on the individual, it can include meditation, journaling, reading, expressive arts, exercise, diet adjustment, water intake adjustment, rest and relaxation, sleep adjustment, attentive movement (yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong), relationship adjustment, being in nature, laughing, giving and receiving affection, and reducing life stresses. The right program can be developed by you and your therapist to meet your needs.
In the following weeks, I intend to touch on some of these "homework assignments." Don't worry. There's no exam.
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Homework That Heals - Introduction