ORS/SRS Forms – Too Simple to be Valid?

| June 8, 2014
ORS/SRS forms, ORS, SRS, Outcome Rating Scale, Session Rating Scale, MyOutcomes

Are ORS/SRS forms too brief and simple to be valid?

The history of science adequately illustrates that whenever there is any shift in paradigms, there tends to be, for a variety of reasons, resistance to the change that the new paradigm heralds. One notable point of resistance focuses upon the new tools or the modification of old tools that are developed by the new paradigm. Though the motivation behind these challenges to the new tools tends to be diverse, the more scientific questions focus upon issues of validity and reliability.

The Outcomes Rating Scale (ORS) and Session Rating Scale (SRS) are two tools that have been developed in recent years due to shifts from the old therapeutic paradigm to the more recent feedback informed approach to therapy. As such, the ORS and the SRS have received their fair share of challenging questions. One question that has been posed is, “How can such simple and brief scales provide meaningful information?” Though, in spirit, this question is aimed at the reliability and validity of the scales, it fairly well misses the mark. As any undergraduate, who has successfully passed their Introduction to Psychology course or Research Methodology course, knows, application of Ockham's Razor will not only provide us with the simplest and most elegant solution, but it is more likely, compared to a more convoluted approach, to get us where we want to be.

The focus of the feedback informed approach is to obtain, with the use of the ORS and SRS, a continual update regarding how the client is feeling as well as knowing whether the clinician is developing and maintaining the empathic bond necessary for successful outcomes. Both of these are internal states that can only be “seen” by using some external measure. Aside from the fact that the use of simple sliding scales to determine an individual's subjective state has a long and respectable tradition in psychological research, anything more complex would introduce a vast array of confounding variables that would provide the clinician with information of questionable value. In short, it is the simplicity of the ORS/SRS forms that make them elegant solutions to what they purport to measure: the client's subjective state.

The feedback informed approach has been shown to be highly feasible for clinicians and easily implemented using technology. Most importantly, it has been repeatedly shown to dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of services. Watch the Advancing Outcome Informed Therapy video series to learn more.

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Category: ORS/SRS

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