Scott Miller on Improving Psychotherapy Outcome
by Scott Miller
It is not practice alone that makes for better therapy or builds better therapists. According to Scott Miller, it is the methods of "deliberate practice," gleaned from his study of experts and expertise, that will help you to improve your clinical skills and therapeutic success rate.
For Dr. Miller, focusing on common factors in therapy such as alliance, collaboration, empathy, and expectation are clearly necessary, but insufficient for therapeutic change. Nor will an endless stream of CE courses, therapy lectures or hours "behind the couch" make you a better therapist. Research shows that most therapist don’t get better with experience; in fact on average they become less effective! Successful psychotherapy, his decades of research confirms, is about “deliberate practice,” the art and science of becoming an expert. He offers guidance and strategies for a clinical self-improvement program to use before, during and after sessions with your most challenging clients, regardless of diagnosis, presenting problem, or your clinical orientation.

Miller teaches you that by engaging in deliberate practice– the strategy of clinicians he refers to as super-shrinks– you can re-focus on areas of clinical weakness rather than simply reproducing areas of strength. He also discusses the skills necessary to build a tangible and measurable game plan for identifying and eliminating those weaknesses, evaluating clinical performance, and optimizing therapeutic outcome.

What therapists are saying…

"Dr. Scott Miller draws back the spotty veil of evidence-based practices to illuminate what makes counseling effective and why various theories of counseling have similar outcomes. He makes a compelling case for why clinician effectiveness depends upon measurement of our own outcomes and deliberate practice targeting the issues identified by our clients. This video is a must for courses in advanced clinical practice."

--Kathryn J. Miller, PhD, Counselor Education and Supervision Faculty, Capella University 
"This interview with Scott Miller gives an overview of therapeutic change agents that cut across all theoretical orientations. Factors such as relation and mutual collaboration with clients have been shown to supersede techniques used. This is a great resource for educators and clinicians alike, advocating for an understanding and application of principles (rather than techniques) and self-evaluation to monitor outcomes."

--Courtney Evans, PhD
"This video provides a foundational introduction to the application and benefit of tracking therapy outcomes throughout the therapeutic relationship. Scott Miller demonstrates how clinical growth, personal development, and positive outcomes can be identified, measured, and utilized during each session and throughout the relationship. As a clinical supervisor and therapist, this video is remarkable in demonstrating the power of therapy and the benefits of the relationship for experienced and fledging counselors alike."

--Bill Owenby, LPC-S, NCC, Community Mental Health Therapist, Clinical Supervisor
"This video was very informative. I appreciated the up to date information and dialog surrounding the common factors in the outcomes of psychotherapy. Dr. Miller provides information from a research perspective that is not heavily ladened with research-ease. As a clinician, educator, and supervisor, I will be able to provide relevant information to help improve therapy outcomes and increase skill development for future clinicians. As a result of watching this video, I will be more intentional about measuring the rapport and quality characteristics of the counseling relationship."

--Joey Gude, PhD, Counselor Educator and CEO of HEART Kinnections
"As an educator, this video is excellent for a theories course because Scott Miller breaks down the tenants of psychotherapy and what the process of psychotherapy is for the beginning counselor. Additionally, he identifies contextual techniques associated with psychotherapy that can help increase the outcomes of counselor making the video beneficial to the student as well as the seasoned counselor."

--Eric Jett, PhD, Clinical Faculty, Counseling
"Dr. Miller's presentation/interview with Dr. Yalom is an excellent overview of not only the current research in how therapeutic modalities work and don't work but what else can we do. Dr. Miller brings out several good points that should be reflected upon in relation to what we do in our counseling/therapeutic practice."

--Dr. Cyndra Pilkington, PhD, Faculty, Capella University

"I found the interview with Scott Miller on Improving Psychotherapy Outcome to be informative and extremely relevant to my work as a licensed professional therapist. The measurable outcome of the therapeutic alliance on a client’s symptom reduction and well-being and functioning provides high motivation for therapists to engage in deliberate practice to intentionally identify areas of personal weaknesses and formulate a plan of remediation. A great takeaway from this training video is outside of the session, therapists practice; in the session, therapists perform."

--Theresa C. Allen, PhD, The Well Life (Owner/Counselor)

In Depth
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Dr. Miller tells us that 90% of therapeutic change, both positive and negative, occurs within the first nine sessions. Therefore, in conjunction with deliberate practice, we need to effectively and efficiently track client satisfaction and progress to avoid premature termination and to optimize treatment outcome. His Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT) does just that by providing clinicians with concrete assessment tools such as the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and Session Rating Scale (SRS). These tools will help you to remain focused on the therapeutic alliance, add or remove services, renegotiate treatment goals or if necessary, refer the client. In contrast to the long-held notion that many people simply get better on their own, the verdict, Miller tells us, is in: psychotherapy works! However, we must remain continually attuned to our own skill development and our client’s progress.

By watching this interview, you will:
  1. learn to recognize the critical role of common factors in strengthening the therapeutic alliance.
  2. be able describe the basic premises and strategies of (Feedback Informed Therapy) FIT.
  3. learn to utilize the principles of deliberate practice to enhance your psychotherapeutic outcome.  

Length of video: 1:14:19

Number of Discs: 0

English subtitles available on: Stream, DVD

This DVD plays in All Regions

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-550-5

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-550-2

Scott Miller, PhD is co-founder of the Institute for the Study of Therapeutic Change, a private group of clinicians and researchers dedicated to studying "what works" in mental health and substance abuse treatment. Dr. Miller conducts workshops and training, and speaks at conferences worldwide. He is the author of numerous articles and co-author of The Heart and Soul of Change: What Works in Therapy, The Heroic Client: A Revolutionary Way to Improve Effectiveness through Client-Directed, Outcome-Informed Therapy, and the forthcoming What Works in Drug and Alcohol Treatment.

CE credits: 1

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the critical role of common factors in strengthening the therapeutic alliance.
  • Be able to describe the basic premises and strategies of (Feedback Informed Therapy) FIT.
  • Explain the principles of deliberate practice to enhance your psychotherapeutic outcome.
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