Encouraging homework completion among older adults in therapy

David W. Coon, Dolores Gallagher-Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A growing body of research suggests that homework assignments facilitate positive outcomes in psychotherapy. We describe a cognitive behavioral outpatient therapy that stresses the important role homework plays in psychotherapy outcomes and that is found to be successful for treating emotional distress in both older adults and family caregivers. Just as a number of barriers can make it difficult for older clients to commit to regular therapy appointments, a variety of factors can also influence their completion of homework. We also address key issues frequently encountered when fostering homework compliance among older adults and utilize case vignettes to illustrate successful approaches to address these barriers. We present basic tenets for effective homework completion regardless of age group as well as several methods to address homework challenges that we find to be particularly pertinent for therapists treating today's older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-563
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 30 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Homework
  • Older adults
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology


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