Measuring Psychotherapy Outcomes: Feedback to Counselors and Clients
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Objective: To evaluate methods of measuring psychotherapy outcomes and uses of feedback to improve clinical services to clients in a college counseling center setting. Design: Systematic review of research evaluating use of outcome measures and feedback to counselors and clients. This review focused primarily on RCTs comparing feedback conditions to treatment as usual in university or college counseling center settings. Results: Two well-researched measures were identified: OQ-45 and PCOMS. Feedback to counselors or both counselors and clients using these measures significantly improved outcomes over treatment as usual. Clients achieved clinically significant change more often and in fewer sessions than those clients who did not receive feedback or whose therapist did not receive feedback. This was especially true for those clients at risk for dropout or poor outcomes. Conclusions: Of the two measures, PCOMS was selected as the most practical and effective for use in a college counseling center setting. Routine outcome monitoring and feedback is recommended for current counselors as well as counselors in training. Limitations of the current study and directions for future research are presented.