Dear McDeath: Why Do Counselors Assign Homework? - Podcast Transcription


Listen to the entire podcast below.

Michela "McDeath" Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC dives into the importance of resilience. She continues to demystify mental health by answering follower questions. If you have a question you wish you could ask a therapist, email us at VillainEsteem@gmail.com

In this episode she talks about:

  • How much time do you actually spend with your counselor? Is that enough for real change?

  • Consistency

  • How does change work anyway?

  • Counselors won't shame you for missing homework.

  • What if you like to figure shit out on your own?

  • How to face your excuses.

  • How to identify your roadblocks, and get past them.

  • What control do you have over the homework your counselor assigns?

  • Why did your counselor choose that homework?

  • How to ask your therapist questions about your treatment plan.

  • What (we hope) most counselors want for you.

  • How the therapist/client relationship works.

If you're sick of the tootie-frootie counselors who won't get off the meditation and zen wagon, come Join McDeath in embracing the villain within you, and building your Villain-Esteem. She isn't everyone's cup of tea because she isn't your typical counselor. If you're a coffee drinker, subscribe now!


Music Credit: Metalicious by Alexander Nakarada

Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/4814-metalicious

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


Villain Esteem Intro: 0:01

Welcome to Villain Esteem's Podcast: Dear McDeath. This podcast is hosted by Michaela Dalsing. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and it's her mission to make mental health understandable and relatable. She talks about common issues she sees in the world as well as answers questions of readers. If you have any questions for a therapist in general or Michaela, please email us at villainesteem@gmail.com.


Michela "McDeath" Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 0:30

Welcome back, Villains!


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 0:33

I have been super fucking MIA for the past, two-ish months. And I'm very sorry to make you wait two months for the next podcast. So in honor of me making you all patiently (or impatiently) wait, this whole episode is going to be a call-out on myself. Just for Fuck’s sake. Just, you know, to make fun of the fact that I have made people wait like two months, and I made myself wait two months before I released another podcast. So today's episode is about why do counselors assign homework?



Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 1:18

Like what the fuck? Didn't we all think that we were done with this shit when we got out of school? And for the kid clients that I see they're like,

“Wait, what? I have homework here?”

“Isn’t homework just a school thing?”

“Why the fuck are you giving me homework? I don't need anything more to do at home. All I want to do is chill and have fun.”


So, why do counselors assign homework? Why do they make us do shit? Outside of session even? Clearly, we are coming to therapy for counselors to do the work for us, right? …Well, that's not quite how it works.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 1:56

So really any change you want to accomplish in your life, whether it's changing how you view yourself, changes in how you view the world, changes in terms of what you do with your life, or a combination of any of those things, they all require consistency.


One of the main reasons that counselors will assign homework is for that consistency component.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 2:24

Just a brief snapshot as to why I'm even doing this, and why I'm calling myself out, as well as why I'm making it relatable, is that I actually used to hate the thought of assigning homework as a counselor. I always said,

“No, these people are coming to me for help. Why the fuck am I gonna say ‘Alright, here's homework, go, go do it on your own, good luck, peace out.’” It took me a while to come around to the Homework Train of Counseling.


I thought it was stupid. People come to us for help. They don't know how to solve these things outside of counseling. If they did, they wouldn't fucking be here, right? But the problem is, you're only with your counselor one hour a week. Max, maybe two. Most counselors will only do two or more hours if shit is literally hitting the fan in your life. Assuming they feel the extra time is needed for stabilization purposes.


So, you're with your counselor one hour a week, how long are you with yourself a week? 168 hours, there are 168 hours a week in which you are with yourself. Even if we subtract 40 hours, (maybe 48 hours) for sleep a week, you are still looking at 128 free hours. 128 hours with yourself a week where you are conscious. That means a counseling session is only .8% of your week, only 0.8. You might accomplish some things in .8% of your week, don't get me wrong, but you're not going to be fucking moving mountains. The homework component is really what makes it so people can move mountains.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 4:24

In terms of consistency, and maintaining those changes over time, counselors assign homework because that's, you know, how we get people to do shit. Calling myself out here, I have not been very consistent with this podcast. I have not been very consistent with a lot of things in my life, let's be honest. Really in the grand scheme of things, I recognize if I want to do anything in my life, I have to force the level of consistency, or the level of adherence. So this is me calling myself out, to try to make myself more consistent for you in the future.


It doesn't matter if they're 5 or if they're 65, every client I encounter has survived their life up until me. This means they already have some good skills and some good resiliency factors that they likely don't even give themselves credit for. I realized that I was doing a great disservice to my clients by refusing to assign homework because I didn't have faith in the factors that kept them surviving for as long as they had been alive. So I struggled to have faith in the fact that they made it this far, maybe they have some fucking skills, maybe they have some abilities and are able to get enough shit done to make their life functional.



Know that your therapist isn't going to be disappointed in you, know they're not going to shame you, and also know I don't want anybody to shame themselves for not doing their homework. We set the tasks knowing most of the people coming into our office are dealing with mental illness. Guess what, though? There are normally impairments in concentration, memory, and energy levels for people with mental illness. s long as they had been alive. So I struggled to have faith in the fact that they made it this far, maybe they have some fucking skills, maybe they have some abilities and are able to get enough shit done to make their life functional.


Now, don't get me wrong, half the time when people come into counseling, they're not necessarily what we would call the pinnacle of functioning people. A lot of times people are dealing with some impairments in their functioning. But a lot of times, they're still holding jobs, they're still in relationships, they still have a lot of components in their life they’re juggling, they're doing their best to survive and function. It helped me to recognize the clients have skills, they have resources, they have strengths already. It's more fun building on those and helping them build to the level of consistency they want.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 7:24

There is no greater agent of change in somebody's life, than that person themselves. If you're really struggling in your life right now, try to recognize that the best agent of change for you, is you. Nobody's going to do it for you, and nobody's going to do it better than you.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 7:38

When it comes down to therapists assigning homework, it's really because we know that people need to be challenged to continue to implement the things that we talk about inside of counseling. As an example; If I'm doing some behavioral change techniques, or if I'm trying to help change the way they see the world in a beneficial way. That's not going to be accomplished through a one-time shot conversation in session. There are times where a person will have an insight moment go off in session, but that “Aha!”, isn’t enough to change everything. That “Aha” might be a good jumping-off point, but at the end of the day, there're still follow up “Aha”s, or follow up recollections of that meaningful “Aha” moment, that will need to happen in order to continually change and move forward in life.

All I can say back is

“Dude, I'm not you. I haven't lived your life. I don't know, or what the best answer is for you. I can give you the clinically correct answer about what might help, but I can't give you advice on how to live your life, or how to do you.”

Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 8:21

When it comes down to therapists assigning homework, it's really because we know that people need to be challenged to continue to implement the things that we talk about inside of counseling. As an example; If I'm doing some behavioral change techniques, or if I'm trying to help change the way they see the world in a beneficial way. That's not going to be accomplished through a one-time shot conversation in session. There are times where a person will have an insight moment go off in session, but that “Aha!”, isn’t enough to change everything. That “Aha” might be a good jumping-off point, but at the end of the day, there're still follow up “Aha”s, or follow up recollections of that meaningful “Aha” moment, that will need to happen in order to continually change and move forward in life.


We assign homework to make sure that you're doing your best to push yourself forward and to be that agent of change in your life. Because like I said, Nobody is going to do it for you.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 9:14

Sometimes there might be someone in your life willing to help you out, but you can’t rely on your friends and family to be the agent of change in your life. Maybe they can be positive reminders, but at the end of the day, no matter how many people in your life are saying “Hey, you should do this thing. It's really good for you.”

Nobody can force you to do it. Even if they have a gun to your head, you still have a choice. You have to make the choice to do things to make yourself better. Do the homework! Yes, it adds a factor of accountability. It adds that motivation and accountability.


I do have to remind clients consistently, but they will not let me down if they come in and they say they didn't do their homework. Please recognize that your therapist gives you challenging homework that is meant to be maybe 10% above what you might be able to do, or 10%, above what you've done over the past week. a therapist won't hold expectations over that homework, they might challenge you, if you come in and you say you didn't do it.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 10:27

At least the way that I view therapy is that a therapist really shouldn't feel disappointed if you come in and you tell them you didn’t do homework, because if you're not doing your therapy homework, that says nothing about the therapist. If you didn't do your therapy homework, you had barriers, and those barriers need to be processed through. So don’t be surprised if your counselor asked what happened, or what got in the way.



Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 11:14

We're not here to shame people. We're not going to tell you you’re failing at life because you skipped therapy homework.

You’re more likely to hear, “Alright, so we set our bar high, how do we get you to meet that bar? What adjustments do we need to make?”

Then it came down to just making the time. Again, this podcast is not necessarily a behavioral change that I'm trying to throw into my daily schedule. But for some of those behavioral changes that a lot of us try to create in our daily schedule or maybe weekly schedule, most of the time can be done in less than an hour. If you look at a lot of the major changes that you want to make in your life, whether it's changing the way you think, changing the way that you are active, or changing something major about hour household or a relationship. A lot of the practice revolving around those changes is less than an hour a day. ly application of your homework. But even then, with that therapy style, in particular, the longest your daily assignment would be is maybe 15-20 minutes out of my client’s day. It is assuredly not a significant period of time.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 12:34

Know that your therapist isn't going to be disappointed in you, know they're not going to shame you, and also know I don't want anybody to shame themselves for not doing their homework. We set the tasks knowing most of the people coming into our office are dealing with mental illness. Guess what, though? There are normally impairments in concentration, memory, and energy levels for people with mental illness.


Coincidentally, what are the three things that are going to impair your ability to do your homework? Concentration, memory, and energy levels! going back to calling myself out on this podcast; The number one reason that I have not recorded an episode in two months is primarily my energy levels. I have just been super low energy between my narcolepsy, depression, and adding a side-gig to my main hustle that took off overnight! I have been grappling to challenge myself to do this, even though I just continuously push it off to my next week's to-do list and I talk myself up. And then it doesn't get done.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 13:49

But that's the thing, if you're going to therapy or going to therapy for a reason, you're clearly struggling too. You're clearly hitting some form of a barrier. Knowing that and knowing you're not going to be perfectly consistent, you're not going to perfectly adhere, that's okay. Just do your best. And try to adhere to the best of your ability, and be as consistent as you can within reason and moderation.


When you think about consistency, it really comes down to thinking about what's getting in the way of being consistent. Therapy is a place where people are held accountable. Well, I don't know if most people realize this, but they are actually the people that are holding themselves accountable in therapy. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to ask a person what got in the way of doing their homework, but at the end of the day, people expect I'm going to ask that question. [Even my partner and family] People get to make the choice about whether or not they're coming in for a session that day to face my questions. Most times people do come in anyway because they might want the answer, too.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 15:19

If we let them, those “Yeah, buts” will get in our way every chance they get. Sometimes it takes an external party, such as a counselor or therapist, to point out that your brain is going there. It has been two fucking months since I've recorded a podcast. here and say it is or it isn't. If you give us the chance, we can help you knock the barriers down one by one and get you on the road to change. You can do a lot of this stuff on your own. It's not like you can't figure out ways to start to implement changes in your life. (Some people might even be starting here, or found this in a search) In our era of 2020 (when this was recorded) It is not like there isn't a shit ton out there in terms of books and resources that people can use to help themselves.


For those of you relating to wanting to do it on your own, I have questions for you;

How are you going to hold yourself consistent?

How are you going to process your own barriers if you don't go into counseling?

Before you decide to go all lone wolf, think you’re going to figure out all the shit, alone, and it's gonna be great, ask yourself where you go for insight.


It really comes down to that level of insight that we're trying to create for people. That level of insight is key to figuring out how to move past your own shit. Your brain is so great at coming up with what I like to call the “Yeah, buts”.

“Yeah, I'd like to lose some weight, but I just also really like chips.”

“Yeah, I would like to have a better relationship with my mom, but I also don't want to talk to her.”

“Yeah, I'd like to earn more money, but I don't want to do the hard work to gain the skills to earn more money.”


If we let them, those “Yeah, buts” will get in our way every chance they get. Sometimes it takes an external party, such as a counselor or therapist, to point out that your brain is going there. It has been two fucking months since I've recorded a podcast. are really great at “Yeah, buts”, but honestly I think it's very rare for people to actually start the stages of change without experiencing “Yeah, buts”. Without experiencing those roadblocks that their minds put up for them. One of mine is;

“I would like to save money. *Cue in Brain* “Yeah, but this bill, and what about that gift you wanted to send, and you know, you're addicted to energy drinks. So you need to spend the money on that instead.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 18:32

If we let them, those “Yeah, buts” will get in our way every chance they get. Sometimes it takes an external party, such as a counselor or therapist, to point out that your brain is going there. It has been two fucking months since I've recorded a podcast.

At first, my brain was like, “Yeah, but I don't have time right now.” “Yeah, but I don't have energy.”


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 19:07

Eventually, after maybe three weeks, four weeks, my brain was like,

“Yeah, but it's been too long.” “It'll be embarrassing to try to come back.” “It's been so long your listenership is going to be like ‘WTF Death why aren't you here? Where are you?”


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 19:32

My brain came up with at least three “Yeah, buts”, on this on just this one topic alone. This isn't even a major life change that I'm trying to overcome. Imagine if I was trying to change a daily behavior, and how many “Yeah, buts” I would experience in regards to changing a daily fucking behavior. That's exactly what a lot of people go through in their minds when they're trying to make changes.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 20:07

Let’s challenge my “Yeah, buts”


Now let's play Devil’s Advocate. Can we make an argument that there might have been some logic and rationale behind them? Yep, they are logical. I don’t have time, I don’t have energy, they are all based in truth, but in the grand scheme of things, they're just excuses to stay comfortable, and to stay in a world that makes sense, no matter how illogical or how harmful it might be. m great at prioritizing urgent priorities, but I get lost on the non-urgent, but still important ones. Which is the case for a lot of people. A lot of people don’t change because it’s convenient to stay the same. It's our comfort zone, even if it's uncomfortable.


After my second year of using the “Yeah, but I don't have the energy”, I had to remind myself I have narcolepsy and depression, I’m never gonna have fucking energy, get over it, just go do it. Fucking Nike, man.


<Insert Nike Meme>


“Yeah, but it's gonna be embarrassing.” Well, I mean, it could be embarrassing now. Or it could be more embarrassing in six fucking months when I'm like, “Hey, remember that podcast that I had that I just fucking dropped and walked away from? Oh, yeah, I'm back. Please come listen to me.”


Now let's play Devil’s Advocate. Can we make an argument that there might have been some logic and rationale behind them? Yep, they are logical. I don’t have time, I don’t have energy, they are all based in truth, but in the grand scheme of things, they're just excuses to stay comfortable, and to stay in a world that makes sense, no matter how illogical or how harmful it might be.


Look at your life and ask yourself

“Where do I rely on old habits?”

“Where do I throw up roadblocks and barriers for myself?

This step is important if you ever want to be able to move past them. Bear in mind, I'm able to do some of these things on my own because I'm a Licensed Counselor. I've been doing it for several years, I've gone through counseling myself, I’ve taught people how to navigate around the things I struggled with, and you know, the required degrees to learn/teach the skills.


Then it came down to just making the time. Again, this podcast is not necessarily a behavioral change that I'm trying to throw into my daily schedule. But for some of those behavioral changes that a lot of us try to create in our daily schedule or maybe weekly schedule, most of the time can be done in less than an hour. If you look at a lot of the major changes that you want to make in your life, whether it's changing the way you think, changing the way that you are active, or changing something major about hour household or a relationship. A lot of the practice revolving around those changes is less than an hour a day.


Like anybody who wants to make any amount of change in their life knows, there has to be a readjustment of priorities. If you’re just starting out, click here for more info.


If you want to lose weight, you have to readjust your priorities to make sure that they fit with the goal of losing weight. You have to maybe get up early, go to the gym, and eat healthier. We know these things, we know that we have to readjust our priorities. But there is also a difference between knowledge and action. A therapist can help you construct some of the insight into what is getting in the way of your action.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 24:06

Sometimes, it's really just about the mental block about the amount of time that you think that change will take.

For me when I struggled with this podcast it sounded like, “Fuck, I have to come up with 30 minutes of something to say about therapy. Something fucking witty and entertaining. And goddamn, it's gonna be so fucking much. How am I ever gonna do that?” I was thinking about the time it takes to pre-plan what I want to say so it is at least a little organized, I was also thinking about the time to record.

I fought the roadblocks with, “Whether or not you pre-plan whether or not you record it to perfection, whether or not it's as long as you want it to be, just get something out.”


Then it came down to just making the time. Again, this podcast is not necessarily a behavioral change that I'm trying to throw into my daily schedule. But for some of those behavioral changes that a lot of us try to create in our daily schedule or maybe weekly schedule, most of the time can be done in less than an hour. If you look at a lot of the major changes that you want to make in your life, whether it's changing the way you think, changing the way that you are active, or changing something major about hour household or a relationship. A lot of the practice revolving around those changes is less than an hour a day.



Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 25:48

Most thought challenging techniques, even if you only do them for 15 minutes a day, you will still see a significant change in the way that you think a good chunk of the time. Now there are those anomalies out there that whether it's either a strong chemical imbalance or something else, where no matter what it seems like, they're still stuck. Hopefully, they’re the ones heavily utilizing counselors. But for most of us, it really only takes 15 minutes a day.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 26:30

I have been super fucking MIA for the past, two-ish months. And I'm very sorry to make you wait two months for the next podcast. So in honor of me making you all patiently (or impatiently) wait, this whole episode is going to be a call-out on myself. Just for Fuck’s sake. Just, you know, to make fun of the fact that I have made people wait like two months, and I made myself wait two months before I released another podcast. So today's episode is about why do counselors assign homework?


Therapists assign homework to get that 15 minutes a day so you can see something tangible so you’re motivated and can really start to make some waves that can create that ripple effect for you. Ultimately, the more ripple effect you have, the more momentum you gain towards those positive changes.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 27:32

We don't do it to torture you, I promise, we do it more so to help empower people, and help you realize that a lot of the things that you want in your life are truly achievable. It's just about figuring out how to, you know, tell your pathology to go fuck itself and decide to just go do it. it’s so hard to get started again once I stop. Within reason, of course, it's not like I need to move constantly. It's about maintaining that momentum. Even if you can only do the bare minimum of whatever change you’re going for, it's still better than nothing.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 28:05

If a client were to show up to session and say, “I really only thought about my homework two times outside of session this past week.” I would be ecstatic. That’s still two more times than they did before we talked about this stuff. Let's keep that progress going. Now, how do we make it better this week? How do we add that extra 10% to build the muscles we are working on just a little more.


It's really as weird as it sounds, a lot of counseling is just figuring out ways to outsmart yourself. It's like your adaptive-self trying to outsmart your maladaptive-self. You just need to make your adaptive-self a little bit stronger than your maladaptive-self. I guess the moral of the story, is that Therapists aren't necessarily assigning homework to just torture you or to set you up for failure.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 29:07

I’ve noticed some people tend to think things like;

“How the fuck am I supposed to do this? I can't manage any of my life. This is why I'm coming to therapy and you’re fucking given me more shit. Like more shit, think about more shit, I don't get it.”


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 29:18

Therapists are really just assigning homework to help you be that best agent of change in your life. We don't do it to shame people we don't “like”. We don't do it to make people feel like they “have to do this or else” it's more so about how it'll always be you that ends up doing the heavy lifting in your own life. Validating yourself in that and drinking in that you do have the power, you do have the control, a Counselor may be there to help you feel that level of empowerment and that level of control in your life, but a therapist can't do it for you. They can teach you all the things, but they can never do the things for you. Would you want the fish, or to be taught? They might be able to practice with you in session, but practicing even just communication skills one time a week in session is not necessarily going to be enough to master them, or to really start to utilize them in those crisis moments of escalation where your brain’s like

“Alert, alert, alert, somebody's mad at us.



Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 30:47

We don't do it to torture you, I promise, we do it more so to help empower people, and help you realize that a lot of the things that you want in your life are truly achievable. It's just about figuring out how to, you know, tell your pathology to go fuck itself and decide to just go do it.


Okay, one more thought. I mean, maybe there's more than one more thought. But one more thought about homework that comes up in my mind is, you do have control over the amount or type of homework that you get. So bear in mind, all therapists kind of have a theoretical orientation that they operate in, which is essentially a fancy way of saying that we have schools of thought, and we are individuals so they’re all a little different. Our schools of thought sometimes dictate what kind of homework that we will give out. You still get to choose what kind of homework you want, and how much of it you want.


There'll be times where I give clients 2-3 skills that they can practice throughout the week, and I check-in. I ask questions like:

“Do you want more?”

“Do you want less?”

“where are you at?”

I really do encourage and appreciate it when clients are honest and express their concerns. We are here to try to make people the most successful they can be. So if we are overwhelming our clients with homework to the point that they feel like they can't necessarily administer anything, or they feel stuck in trying things because they feel like they're juggling too many skills. It would be a disservice to you and wouldn’t help you feel empowered, or help you feel capable of doing these things on your own.


I genuinely hope everybody is honest about it. Myself, and any other counselors you may work with, are here for you. Yeah, sure, we get paid for this, of course, but we went into this profession because we're helpers, we all have a helping mindset. And we really take (I mean, this is an overgeneralization and an assumption. So take it with a grain of salt, I guess.), but a lot of the counselors I know, take a lot of pride in what we do, and it's a passion for us. We love being able to help people. So if something that we're doing like assigning homework is getting in the way of you being successful, voice that to your counselor.

Sometimes conversations sound like, “Alright, have X amount of skills that I've given you this week that you're going to practice, where are you at in terms of your feelings on managing this?”


I genuinely hope everybody is honest about it. Myself, and any other counselors you may work with, are here for you. Yeah, sure, we get paid for this, of course, but we went into this profession because we're helpers, we all have a helping mindset. And we really take (I mean, this is an overgeneralization and an assumption. So take it with a grain of salt, I guess.), but a lot of the counselors I know, take a lot of pride in what we do, and it's a passion for us. We love being able to help people. So if something that we're doing like assigning homework is getting in the way of you being successful, voice that to your counselor.

Be brave and say things like. “Hey, you're given too much.” “You're giving too little.” “Can we tweak what you're giving?”


There are times where, as a counselor, I've given very concrete homework. It can be as intense as doing a thought challenging worksheet once a day, every day until you see me again. And then I've given some very ambiguous homework that's more similar to processing something that we talked about in a session or reflecting more on what leads you to do this thing in your life. So there are times where counselors can give me assignments, they can give very concrete, structured assignments. It's really about what works best for you.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 35:27

I personally do not give many journal based assignments, just because I personally have a lot of issues with consistency with journaling, and I know that it's very hard for me to implement. So it might be a personal bias, but I always tell my clients if journaling is something that works for them, I can definitely integrate that into the homework that I give them.


It doesn't matter if they're 5 or if they're 65, every client I encounter has survived their life up until me. This means they already have some good skills and some good resiliency factors that they likely don't even give themselves credit for. I realized that I was doing a great disservice to my clients by refusing to assign homework because I didn't have faith in the factors that kept them surviving for as long as they had been alive. So I struggled to have faith in the fact that they made it this far, maybe they have some fucking skills, maybe they have some abilities and are able to get enough shit done to make their life functional. want to do that specific homework assignment with you. It might come down to theoretical orientation, it might come down to something as silly as insurance, because sometimes insurance dictates having a concrete treatment plan, sometimes outlining that every session needs to have a homework assignment that's concrete and tangible. It might sometimes come down to insurance, it might come down to their theoretical orientation, but ultimately the Counselor should be able to tell you why they might be steering more towards a certain homework assignment or a certain style of homework.


Being an informed client, and knowing the rationale behind why your counselor does the things that they do, can actually really help with not only the reception of what your counselor is doing but help with insight gaining as well. So yeah, if you ever have questions about the assignments, they're giving you the homework they're giving you just ask them.


Sometimes the counselor will say, I don't know, let me think about it and get back to you. Don't be afraid to ask again to follow up. If next week they assign something similar and they haven't gotten back to you, it's completely reasonable to ask again. Please remember counselors do have caseloads of 20-100 clients, so sometimes things fall through the cracks. Counseling is all about open dialogue. It's all about being able to say, whatever you need to say, that's best for you. And figuring out ways to make yourself healthier through those conversations that you have with your counselor.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 38:23

I guess I don't really know if there's a good way to wrap this up. Because there's a lot behind why we assign homework. It’s weird because I feel like I am like a reformer, but sometimes it makes me feel like a sellout to say,

“Yeah, I totally assign homework.”

Sometimes the counselor will say, I don't know, let me think about it and get back to you. Don't be afraid to ask again to follow up. If next week they assign something similar and they haven't gotten back to you, it's completely reasonable to ask again. Please remember counselors do have caseloads of 20-100 clients, so sometimes things fall through the cracks. Counseling is all about open dialogue. It's all about being able to say, whatever you need to say, that's best for you. And figuring out ways to make yourself healthier through those conversations that you have with your counselor.

And now I'm like, “Dude, my clients don't fucking need me.”


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 39:07

I guess I don't really know if there's a good way to wrap this up. Because there's a lot behind why we assign homework. It’s weird because I feel like I am like a reformer, but sometimes it makes me feel like a sellout to say, t life, or you need help trying to figure out how to live your best life because if you could do it without help, you'd already be doing it. A lot of people come into therapy for ideas and for hope of getting through their messy lives. Therapists are here to give you those ideas, they're here to give you that hope and help you feel supported while you sort through the mess of your life and get you back on track and get you closer to living your best life.


Michela Dalsing MS, LMHC, NCC, LCPC 39:41

We don't do it to torture you, I promise, we do it more so to help empower people, and help you realize that a lot of the things that you want in your life are truly achievable. It's just about figuring out how to, you know, tell your pathology to go fuck itself and decide to just go do it. figure out how to live your best life because if you could do it without help, you'd already be doing it. A lot of people come into therapy for ideas and for hope of getting through their messy lives. Therapists are here to give you those ideas, they're here to give you that hope and help you feel supported while you sort through the mess of your life and get you back on track and get you closer to living your best life.


As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Funds go to furthering the reach of Mental Health.


Find the Therapist-Recommended Reading List Appendix here


  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

© 2023 by Villain Esteem PLLC. Proudly created with Wix.com

Hours of operation 

Mon-Thu: Whenever We Want

Friday: At Convenience

Sat-Sun: Closed (Not Really)

contact us