Counseling will only work if the people seeking counseling do the work necessary for change outside the counseling office. (I recommend reading that sentence again.) Counseling in the office is not a magic moment. If you do not put forth consistent, appropriate, practical, and ongoing hard work into the change process, while you are away from your counseling, then you will not change.
Recently I sent a couple of friends this homework assignment. This is a long-term assignment for them to be working through as they are going through their counseling season. They are not expected to do this in a week–or even in a month, though they could. Here are three possible implementation options:
- Read one article per day for thirty-one days and do the writing assignment for each reading. Consider it your daily devotions. Do this three or more months in a row.
- Read one article every three days with a friend or your spouse. Journal and talk in-between reading assignments.
- Find another pace that works for you–a pace that is consistent.
If you would like to use this assignment, then copy and paste the text below into an email to your friends. (Or send the link to this article to them.) Change the content to fit their needs. Encourage them to do this assignment and follow up with them as appropriate to make sure they are progressing through this long-term plan for change.
You can find a link to this article on our Find a Counselor page.
Hey [Bill and Mary]
Thank you for making counseling a priority. As we continue to work together, I want to make sure you guys have a good and consistent plan that you can implement outside of our meetings together. With that in mind, I have put together a progression of articles for you to read. (There are also three webinars for you to watch.)
These articles are listed in the order for you to read—a progressive order. Please read them in the order presented because each one builds on the last one. They are not to be read just to be read, but to be absorbed, processed, reflected upon, with the hope the LORD will bring satisfying change to you. This means you should take all the time you need, rather than just reading through them. Therefore, finding a consistent pace and place for reading is best.
To have a good systematic plan, that is consistent, will bring the most benefit. From each article, it would be good to talk to someone and/or do some writing that follows this format:
- What is the main point of the article?
- What is the main thing that stuck out to you?
- How do you need to change from this reading?
- What is your specific, practical, and detailed plan to change?
- Share each article with someone, plus the things you concluded from your reading. (If you are married, and if possible, share these things with your spouse.)
Discipleship world view
- Helpful things to make the most out of the change process
- The first and unique step to solve your problems
- The perfect self-help book that will change your life
- Why do I do what I do? Can you help me?
- All problems are in 1 order and 4 categories
Theology of suffering
- God is incrementally, systematically, and purposefully putting you to death
- When you are beyond your ability, God has you right where He wants you
- Twelve universal assumptions you can make about all people
- When I kept silent about my sin, this is what happened
- Pre-forgiveness is a prerequisite before you can genuinely forgive someone
- Two essential things if you want to be changed: honesty and transparency
- Learning how to apply these things is the most important thing you can do: (Watch the webinar The Doctrine of Repentance)
Three universal problems
- How to take every thought captive
- Mind Mapping: A detailed study of self-reliance: (Watch the webinar Overcoming unbelief)
- A practical plan to break free from being controlled by the opinions of others: (Watch the webinar on Fear of man)
- A few thoughts on an unchangeable situation
- Five helpful marks to see if someone has changed
- Four sequential steps to change anyone’s life
- Five things you need to know to be mastered by the Bible
- The most perfect relationship you can have with someone
- Leading your spouse in intimate conversations
- Two essential keys for small group life: the what and the how
- The most powerful way to help someone to change
- The hardest and best way to help someone to change
- The benefit of being intentionally intrusive in each other’s lives
- The best reason to marry; the best reason to reconcile
- Ten tips to kill your marriage
- Do you know what your wife is thinking?
- Your wife, your children, and other secondary considerations
- The orientation of your home: follow the leader
Ask the LORD to let these materials change you. He will do this for you. Thank you for letting me serve you during this time in your life.