Clock on top of desk

These days there is a survey for everything which attempts to quantify something subjective, such as an experience at a coffee shop or an oil change. Why not bring client-lead feedback methods to therapy sessions? Despite the efficacy of psychotherapy, many people discontinue therapy after just a few sessions. The reasons for these dropouts are numerous, but it generally comes down to the client feeling as though they do not benefit from the sessions. One way that therapists can get a window into how clients are feeling about their treatment is through Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT).

FIT involves gathering input from the client in order to improve treatment using a carefully tailored list of questions. These questions help maintain open communication with clients on how they feel about their therapy experience. At Palo Alto Therapy, we use FIT to allow our therapists to assess the progress and treatment goals of each client, and offer better results.

 

Feedback Improves Client and Therapist Communication

Therapist writing in a paper notebook

Many people enter therapy with a specific goal they wish to achieve, such as reducing anxiety or overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder. FIT provides therapists with client information to make necessary adjustments to make treatment more effective. The tracked feedback ensures that the therapist and client are always working towards the same goals.

Goal setting is an important piece of the therapeutic process. Goals help form a direction therapy should go to achieve the desired result. Forming a trusted relationship with a therapist is critical for clients to begin working towards these goals. Feedback helps minimize misunderstandings, and itself can be a reflection of significant growth. The practice of giving constructive feedback can help clients who struggle with discussing vulnerable feelings. Learning to give feedback correctly can also be used outside of treatment to improve other areas of clients’ lives.

One of the most important aspects of any good relationship is communication. Communicating with others is not always easy, and not always about positive things. The ability to deliver constructive feedback improves personal relationships immeasurably. The use of specific feedback helps set boundaries, make expectations clear, build trust, and recover from negative experiences. Learning to effectively deliver feedback is a useful tool that continuously helps clients navigate life successfully.

Feedback Increases the Chances of Continued Therapy

Couple sitting on couch

Therapy is most effective when attendance is regular. According to Michael Lambert, psychotherapy is highly effective for around 50% of clients after eight sessions while 75% of clients require at least 14 sessions to experience reliable improvements. However, this study showed that somewhere between 20 and 57 percent of people in therapy do not return after the first session. Another 37 to 45 percent attended therapy a total of two times. The top reason people drop out of therapy is due to dissatisfaction with their therapist. 

In California, we have a rich diversity of people from all over the world. In some cultures, it is not proper to critique one’s therapist or anyone in a professional position. This lack of feedback can lead to miscommunication and a lower quality of care. By removing the need to express verbally what the client would like to change, clients can provide written feedback that the therapist can take into account to adjust the treatment as needed.

In a 2005 study, researchers found that when clients could give regular feedback to their therapist, they were more likely to continue treatment. A critical component to effective therapy is regular attendance. Treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) build on previous sessions to be effective. Through FIT, therapists can track the treatment’s effectiveness, and self-correct when the course of therapy is not in line to achieve the desired results.

Feedback Gives You Better Treatment Results

Couple sitting on a bench facing a beach

Feedback Informed Treatment offers better results than standard therapy sessions. Measuring a treatment’s effectiveness showed to nearly double the effectiveness of the therapy. Clients who could participate in open feedback with their therapists felt more in control of their own treatment experience. When therapists adjusted their approach based on feedback, clients reported feeling their therapist understood them and was actively helping them reach their goals.

Not only is the effectiveness of the therapy improved, but treatment results are shown to be reliably faster. While most clients experienced lasting improvement after eight sessions, clients whose therapist used FIT achieved desired results after seven or fewer sessions. This improved the client’s feelings of achievement to see results so quickly.

Clients in FIT therapy offices also show results more likely to last. This study demonstrated that six months after the completion of their treatment, over half of all clients showed significant change. Clients could reliably demonstrate the coping strategies they learned, and showed improvements in their relationships. These results show how critical FIT is to delivering treatment that works over a lifetime.

Conclusion

Although therapy has been found effective for most people, many people are left unsatisfied with their treatment. We use Feedback Informed Treatment at Palo Alto Therapy to provide an open dialog with clients on how they are doing using a carefully crafted series of questions. Consistent communication offers better results to our clients in the long run. We use this feedback to improve client-therapist communication to reach goals and gain results fast.

Providing feedback to the therapist offers better results than other facilities that do not provide a forum for feedback. An open communication method helps us understand your goals clearly to ensure your therapist is on the same page as you are. Many find that the practice of giving regular feedback benefits other areas of their lives aside from their treatment sessions. We use feedback as a tool to remove social barriers concerning giving feedback and to minimize miscommunications between you and your therapist.

Combining cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and FIT provide a truly unique experience. Our clients see effective results and experience faster gains. Feedback helps us help you achieve and succeed with tools you can use for a lifetime.