Monthly Archives: February 2016

Measures to Help You Understand Your Client’s Experience of Therapy

This is the third in a series of guest posts from bacpac user, psychotherapist, coach and consultant, Barry McInnes, exploring the benefits of recording and analysing measures as part of therapy. Click here to read the first part and second part in the series.

In my last blog, I introduced 5 compelling reasons to use outcome measures in therapy. Over the next few blogs, I’ll be unpacking each one.

Without further ado, reason number 1…

You may learn something about your client’s experience that you really, really need to know

Most of us see our clients for no more than one hour a week. Our clients experience the remaining 167 hours without us. However comprehensive our assessment of their needs may be, there will be always areas of their experience that are unknown to us, particularly in the early stages of therapy.

Global measures of distress such as the CORE-OM and GHQ-28 enable us to access areas of our clients’ experience that we may not otherwise discover. Some of these aspects may affect their capacity to engage with therapy, especially in the critical early stages.

Take, for example, the client who is chronically sleep deprived, or whose levels of despair and hopelessness may cause them to abandon therapy prematurely. For this client, these symptoms may be such a ‘normal’ part of their existence that they fail to mention them during therapy. As such, these factors escape our attention, but still have the capacity to affect the course of our work with the client.

Collecting outcome measures routinely during treatment could help to bring to the surface something that makes the difference between early termination and a successful outcome.

I’d welcome your thoughts and your feedback – drop me a line by emailing barrymcinnes@virginmedia.com. You can also read more about what works in therapy from a research perspective on my website.

If you are a practising therapist in private practice and would like to contribute to the bacpac blog yourself, please get in touch.

 

5 Compelling Reasons for Using Measures in Therapy

We invited psychotherapist, coach and consultant, Barry McInnes, to write a series of guest blogs exploring the benefits of recording and analysing outcome measures as part of therapy. This is the second of those posts. Click here to read the first blog in this series

Before we start talking about the questions of which outcome measures to use and how to incorporate measures into your practice, there are some attitudinal and ideological questions to discuss. Until these are addressed, the “how to…” is going to be largely irrelevant.

I wonder, of the three descriptions that follow, which best describes your current attitude to the merits of using measures in your practice?

  1. I’m fully on board

  2. I’ve no strong feelings either way

  3. I believe measures have no place in the therapy process

If you fall into the first category then the chances are that what follows will be familiar to you. If you fall into the second, perhaps something here may convince you of the benefits of using measures. If you’re in the last category, and have got this far, please at least read the next paragraph before you abandon this blog!

As therapists, we pride ourselves on being open-minded, curious and willing to do what we know works for clients, right? This is true, except, it seems, when it comes to using measures. An Australian study of mental health service clinicians’ attitudes to using measures found that 67% would refuse the use of self-report measures even if they acknowledged that it would lead to better patient outcomes.

I’m probably very much like you in terms of changing my practice. Show me a compelling reason for doing something differently and, all other things being equal, I’ll at least consider it. Otherwise, forget it. In that spirit, below follow some arguments that I find compelling why we should consider using measures if we aren’t already doing so…

  1. You may learn something about your client’s experience that you really, really need to know
  2. Measures might well save your (therapy) relationship
  3. A measure may be the only way you discover the true risk your client is at
  4. Clients will likely sense if you’re going ‘through the motions’ so learn to use measures well
  5. Therapist self-appraisal is not a reliable measure of effectiveness

Please note that these aren’t simply my opinion – for most there’s a decent body of evidence to back them up. I’ll be delving into each of these arguments in detail in upcoming blogs over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, I’d welcome your thoughts and your feedback – drop me a line by emailing barrymcinnes@virginmedia.com. You can also read more about what works in therapy from a research perspective on my website.

If you are a practising therapist in private practice and would like to contribute to the bacpac blog yourself, please get in touch.