Feedback informed therapy empowers clients to find their voices and take ownership in the therapeutic process. It has been proven that feedback informed therapy reduces dropout rates and improves client outcomes, as well as improves the client’s sense of well-being. The difficulty for mental and behavioral health professionals is how to solicit feedback and measure progress in counseling. In other words, how do you measure therapy effectiveness?
Counseling Outcomes Assessment: Tools & Approaches
Today, therapeutic approaches span a wide spectrum of methodologies, theories, and techniques in order to treat an equally broad range of issues, from substance abuse and PTSD to depression and anxiety. At the same time, therapy is guided by individual needs. Outcome-measuring counseling tools, however, can work across theories and practices to answer key questions, namely: is the client making progress and working towards a positive outcome?
Counseling outcomes assessment tools such as the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and Session Rating Scale (SRS) are invaluable. How do you put them into practice for assessing progress in therapy?
Find assessments that meet your needs. Determine which counseling outcomes assessment you are most comfortable using; as effective as a tool may be, if you do not utilize it regularly to solicit client feedback, you won’t realize the benefits. The Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS), for example, uses the ORS and SRS, and PCOMS is proven by eight randomized clinical trials to be effective regardless of treatment approach or client reasons for service.
Work with your client to create goals. When measuring therapy progress, effectiveness, and outcomes, remember that the goals need to measure outcomes, not the therapeutic process. For example, if you have a client who is depressed and has difficulty getting out of bed each day, a desired outcome may be spending more time up and dressed. Measuring this will tell you if the process is leading to the outcomes needed.
Use your chosen counseling tools consistently. The ORS and SRS are intended to be used at each client visit. The ORS is administered at the beginning of the visit, giving you an ongoing report of the client’s experience related to the reasons for service. Is therapy on track to address these concerns? The SRS is administered at the conclusion of the session; it provides feedback on the client-therapist alliance - a key predictor of retention and successful outcomes.
Feedback informed therapy delivers a number of benefits, both in terms of client progress and your own professional growth and efficacy. Use Better Outcomes Now, the true web application of PCOMS, to help automate feedback informed therapy in your client sessions.