Psychotherapy Blog

 

Continuous outcome assessment

Posted by Tony Rousmaniere, PsyD on 11/26/12 - 8:00 AM
One of the enjoyable side-benefits of attending international psychotherapy trainings is the opportunity to meet bright clinicians and discover exciting new projects. At a recent training on ISTDP by Allan Abbass in Halifax, I met two British psychotherapists and researchers, Stephen Buller and Susan Hajkowski, who are starting an innovative project in the United Kingdom: the Psychotherapy
Foundation
. The overall goal of the Foundation is to promote procedures that improve the quality of psychotherapy. One aspect of their project I find particularly interesting is the focus on the  importance of continuous self-supervision and peer-supervision by therapists, via videotapes of therapy sessions and continuous outcome assessment. In my opinion, it is vital for therapists to get continuous critical feedback on their work from peers or mentors after formal training has ended: your last day in school should be your first day in consultation. Work in any field that does not include  frequent objective (and ideally data-based) assessment is inherently prone to quality deterioration, and psychotherapy is no exception. Our field in particular has a propensity for isolation, with so many therapists working alone in solo practice. For example, it has always seemed strange to me that therapists are required to get Continuing Education training but not required to get feedback on their actual work. Additionally, as has been discussed previously on this blog, a side-benefit of practice-based outcome assessment is that it provides a data set that can be used to inform the public about the benefits of psychotherapy, and help potential clients make informed decisions about which therapist they want to work with.
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