There Are Now Ten Randomized Clinical Trials Demonstrating Better Outcomes with PCOMS


Ten randomized clinical trials (RCT) published in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals demonstrate that the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) unequivocally improves outcomes and reduces dropouts.

Who Is Responsible for the Research?

Eight of the ten were conducted by the team here at Better Outcomes Now (BON) and two by independent researchers who confirmed our findings. While the snake oil salesmen of our profession often take credit for this enormous body of research to promote their own product or version of our system, we are responsible for the scientific credibility of PCOMS. We believe that our attention to the science of PCOMS translates to the superior data analytics of BON.  

Who Developed the Methodology of Using Outcome Measures Collaboratively and to Privilege the Client?

Dr. Barry Duncan developed the often-copied clinical methodology of using client-generated measures to privilege clients and improve outcomes, first articulated in the original PCOMS manual (Duncan & Sparks, 2002; now in its 4th edition). And we are sure that BON represents fidelity to the spirit and intent of Duncan’s original methodology for both privileging clients and improving outcomes.

 Ten Randomized Clinical Trials

The following summarizes this extensive body of research dating back to 2009 with the latest RCT published in 2021. All studies compare PCOMS to treatment as usual.

  1. The Norway Couple PCOMS Trial (Anker, Duncan, & Sparks, 2009)
  • Over 2 times more couples in which both individuals changed reliably;
  • 4 times more couples achieved clinically significant change;
  • At 6-month follow-up, 46% less separation/divorce rate.
  1. PCOMS and Individual Therapy (Reese, Norsworthy, & Rowlands, 2009)
  • Over 2 times more change;
  • 26% more clients experienced reliable change;
  • Achieved reliable change faster.
  1. US Replication of Norway Trial (Reese, Toland, Slone, & Norsworthy, 2010)
  • Over 2 times more change;
  • 4 times more couples achieved clinically significant change:
  • Achieved reliable change faster.
  1. PCOMS and Mandated Substance Abuse Treatment (Schuman, Slone, Reese, & Duncan, 2015)
  • More change overall and more clinically significant change;
  • More successful unit reintegration rated by blinded commander ratings;
  • More sessions attended.
  1. PCOMS and Group Therapy (Slone, Reese, Mathews-Duvall, & Kodet, 2015)
  • More change overall and more reliable/clinically significant change:
  • More sessions attended;
  • Lower dropout rate
  1. PCOMS in China. (She, Duncan, Reese, et al., 2018)
  • 6 times the rate of reliable change;
  • Significantly better alliance ratings;
  • PCOMS not just a Western phenomenon.
  1. Independent PCOMS Norway Trial (Brattland et al., 2018)
  •  2.5 times more likely to improve (measured by the ORS)
  •  2.5 times more likely to improve (measured by the BASIS 32)
  • Outcomes for PCOMS improved over time
  1. PCOMS and Children in the UK (Cooper, Duncan, Golden, & Toth, 2019)
  • School setting with 7–11-year-olds receiving play therapy
  • Significantly better outcomes as rated by the ORS
  • Significantly better outcomes as rated by the SDQ
  1. PCOMS and Integrated Care (Duncan, Reese, DeSantis et al., 2021)
  • 2 times more change in just an average of 4 sessions
  • Over 40% more clinically significant change measure by the ORS and PHQ-9
  • 30% less dropouts
  1. Independent PCOMS in The Netherlands (Bovendeerd et al., 2021)
  • Study of 1733 clients
  • Evaluated outcome with the Outcome Questionnaire 45.2
  • Even with but 40% fidelity, 25% more change with PCOMS
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