increasing psychotherapy effectiveness

research has shown that when clients are directly involved with charting the course of therapy, therapy tends to be much more effective. because of that, i use two very simple tools in my sessions that help to ensure client involvement. the one i am reprinting here is the one i give at the beginning of the session. it is useful in many ways – one of them is to chart improvement over time. if there is little improvement, the client and i can discuss what changes we need to make; and if there is improvement, we can figure out how that improvement happened, and how the improvement can be strengthened even more and firmly anchored into the client’s life.

here then is the outcome rating scale:

Looking back over the last week, including today, help us understand how you have been doing in the following areas of your life, where marks to the left represent low levels and marks to the right indicate high levels.

Individually:
(Personal well-being)
I———————————————————————-I

Interpersonally:
(Family, close relationships)
I———————————————————————-I

Socially:
(Work, School, Friendships)
I———————————————————————-I

Overall:
(General sense of well-being)
I———————————————————————-I

© 2000, Scott D. Miller and Barry L. Duncan

the second tool i use is the session rating scale, which is given at the end of the session. this little questionnaire ensures that the client gets what they need out of the session – for example, that she or he feels heard, and that we talked about the things she or he wanted to talk about. when there is dissatisfaction, we talk about it to make sure that next time, the session works better for the client. an example of the session rating scale can be found at the end of this article.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver
www.moritherapy.com

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