therapeutic alliance

Improve Patient Outcomes with the Help of Technology

A lot of therapists making the shift to telemedicine have experienced a few hiccups along the way.

Online therapy itself is new and most clinicians have not had any proper training on how to translate their in-person work to a digital platform. Plus, the switch to technology platforms that seem too cumbersome to use, creates even further barriers to providing effective therapy. Who ever dreamed an essential part of a good therapy session would be the client’s ability to log on?

As therapist and client experiment with online therapy, feedback is essential to figuring out what is working, and how to fix what is not. To keep communication open and transparent I recommend setting aside dedicated time each session to discuss the transition, and what has and hasn’t felt supportive.

Without this, it can be difficult to truly gauge whether the patient is satisfied with the mental health services they have received. If they are dissatisfied, they are less likely to share this information with you, which jeopardizes their outcome.

MyOutcomes for Mental Well Being is a company that provides practitioners with software that allows patients to give feedback on a session-by-session basis.  Practitioners and patients can view this feedback immediately, allowing for adjustments to improve the therapeutic alliance and increase the likelihood of the client achieving clinically significant, reliable change from the psychotherapeutic treatment or program provided.

Improve patient outcomes with the help of technology

MyOutcomes is committed to helping those in the mental healthcare field improve patient outcomes and simplify outcome reporting, offering standardized therapy outcome measures ideal for both in-person and Telehealth sessions. MyOutcomes recently released Telehealth Solution promises to dramatically simplify the routine monitoring of treatment outcomes, making remote administration as simple and engaging as face-to-face.

Here is what some of your colleagues are saying about these new features:

“That’s exactly the feature I’ve been looking forward to. Other companies use direct access links all the time, I was wondering why MyOutcomes wasn’t providing that option.”

“Like it! Often clients would find the login and password via email as a bit clunky.”

“This is way faster since the virtual platform I use has a chat function, so rather than me copying and pasting the login information or the client having to refer back to their email, I like that they can just click a link that I send them.”

There are four new ways to collect outcome and session ratings from clients. Perfect for Telehealth or in person sessions where clients want to use their own device

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  1. Send Access: It can be as simple as opening Give Access and clicking the button to send an email with access options to the client.
  2. Single Reminder: This option provides the opportunity to preselect a time and date to send an email with a customizable message to remind them to complete the scales and provide them with login access.
  3. Recurring Reminder: Clicking the Recurring Reminder button will open a page that now includes the custom message “ield option. Great for weekly group sessions.
  4. Direct Access Link: You can completely eliminate login issues by sharing the link in real time through your text or chat function. This link will enable the client to access their survey with one click.

To learn more read: MyOutcomes 2021 Telehealth Solution

Feedback Informed Treatment in Group Settings

The heart of Feedback-Informed Treatment (FIT) is using information generated though routine monitoring of the therapeutic relationship and progress in treatment to adjust service delivery.

With MyOutcomes® the standard Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) is used to measure progress reported by group members. To monitor the quality of the alliance, the Group Session Rating Scale (GSRS) has been developed and has proven to be a reliable and valid measurement tool, capable of predicting early treatment response (a known determinant of engagement and outcome).

The following cartoon is based on a video excerpt from MyOutcomes FIT eLearning Program. It provides an example of strategies for introducing and administering the GSRS.

 

When a client’s response to treatment is measured using the GSRS the interpretation of the measures, the meaning and use of the client’s response pattern in general indicates:


• GSRS scores that start and remain low are associated with higher dropout rates and poor or negative treatment outcomes;

• GSRS scores that start and remain high are associated with positive treatment outcomes;


• GSRS scores that start low but improve are associated with lower dropout rates and superior outcomes;


• GSRS scores that start high but decrease are associated with higher dropout rates and poorer treatment outcomes.


The key to using the GSRS effectively in groups is ensuring that the process facilitates open discussion among the members. MyOutcomes not only offers the tools needed to simplify the collection of client outcome and session ratings, we also offer Nationally accredited training in Feedback-Informed Treatment.

To learn more visit: https://www.myoutcomes.com/fit-elearning

How do I Engage in Psychotherapy Online?

Therapeutic Practice

Living in this constantly evolving world requires adaptation in digital technology for efficiency.

Using paper and pencil are long gone- they take enormous amount of time as opposed to working on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Keeping and utilizing piles of paper are now unnecessary and inefficient, as technology allows you to keep all your data and information in digital form. Essentially, as therapists, you can now review, search, and organize notes on therapeutic sessions electronically.

Paper and pencil allow you to keep track of an individual client case, but could only be efficient when used on one on one therapeutic session, whereas with digital form, you are able to track multiple client records and documentations online.

As therapists, consider the convenience of being able to access client cases digitally at any time, anywhere.

MyOutcomes is a highly effective tool to conveniently utilize in Psychotherapy online as it provides both clients and therapists the advantage of accessing electronic records through digital management system for feedback informed treatment and to track therapeutic progress.

Below are practical recommendations as to engaging in therapeutic practice online through MyOutcomes:

  1. SECURITY and CONFIDENTIALITY

MyOutcomes system is a secure outcome management system that contains some of the same functions and security as an electronic health record. There are safety measures and protection built on the MyOutcomes system. Only clients or providers can login to the MyOutcomes App by providing identification and verification requirements to all the MyOutcomes system users. Clients can login by contacting their therapist/counselor for User ID and Password. Clinicians and Therapists without a MyOutcomes account can contact MyOutcomes to receive 2 months free access. To redeem the offer, please visit https://www.myoutcomes.com/free-trial-for-creating-an-evaluation-account/.

  1. CONVENIENCE

MyOutcomes provides clients and therapists the privilege and opportunity to participate in online psychotherapy by accessing materials through MyOutcomes® Mobile https://www.myoutcomes.com/myoutcomes-mobile/ available on a smartphone or tablet. MyOutcomes Mobile is available for free download on iTunes and Google Play. MyOutcomes Mobile has offline administration available, meaning the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS) can be completed on a smartphone or tablet offline and users can see still the raw sub scale and total scores for immediate integration into the session.

  1. ACCESSIBILITY

Clients can also receive an individual login to MyOutcomes® to enter their ORS and SRS feedback results directly into MyOutcomes. Therapists can administer the ORS and SRS and see results in real time for easy integration into the therapeutic session. Through the Provider Dashboard Therapists, they can also track client cases, and analyze clients' scores to determine whether clients are on or off-track in meeting their therapeutic goals. Therapists can also add notes from the therapeutic sessions to the client status report graph to add context to session scores.

Through MyOutcomes, engaging in Psychotherapy online becomes feasible and achievable.

If any questions/comments arise, please contact us at https://www.myoutcomes.com/contact-myoutcomes/.

We look forward to serving you!

Engagement Is a Perfectly Fine State

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A web-based engagement tool and much much more for therapists.

I have this therapist friend Christy, who is smart, compassionate and highly capable. Everything one could want in a therapist. What impresses me, however, is her incredible talent for finding connections between things that, to most people, appear to be only loosely connected. For example, she and her husband have been learning to dance the tango. She later observed how striking the similarity was between the tango and psychotherapy. The tango involves two individuals who come together with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Although one partner leads and the other follows, the dance is actually a complex partnership where what particular action each takes depends upon the other's action. Their entire success rests on their ability to “listen” to the other and work cooperatively.

Psychotherapy is much the same. Two individuals, the client and the therapist, come together. The client brings to therapy their problem, psychological distress, their extra-therapeutic strengths and weaknesses, and their expectations and goals. Initially, the client may only have a vague idea of what their problem is and their goal may be even less clear. The therapist brings to this partnership knowledge, experience and insight. The therapist enters the situation ignorant of pretty much everything there is to know about the client, including their level of psychological distress.

Although there can be tremendous variation in how psychotherapy proceeds, it is at the initial therapeutic session that the therapist begins to understand what the client needs. It is also at this initial therapeutic session that the client begins to clarify what their problem is. Together the client and the therapist identify their goal and begin taking steps moving towards it.

There are, of course, multiple factors influencing progress made in therapy, but one critical factor is the therapist's talent for listening to their client. Obviously, any therapist, who begins working with a client believing they know what is best for that client, even before talking to them, is bound to run into difficulties in achieving therapeutic success. Equally problematic is a therapist who doesn't listen to what the client thinks or what the client wants. Any therapist in pursuit of personal excellence will recognize that their relationship with the client is not one of parent-child, but one that is more of a partnership, like…the tango.

Another critical factor in predicting therapeutic success is whether the client is engaged. If the client isn't engaged, the client won't do their part and, if that happens, reaching the goal is unlikely, no matter how good the therapist is. This is much the same situation as found in the tango. The leader may be a fantastic dancer but if their partner isn't engaged in the dance, the partner will fail to follow and the dance won't be successful. Just because the leader's partner follows, it doesn't mean that the follower is passive. Their active contribution is vital to the successful completion of the dance.

There are some who suggest that MyOutcomes, the automated, web-based application of Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS), is simply an engagement tool. If that notion was entirely accurate, MyOutcomes would still be a powerful tool, playing an essential role in helping the psychotherapist guide their client to their therapeutic goal. The truth, however, is that MyOutcomes is an engagement tool and it is much, much more.

One of the tools offered by MyOutcomes is the Session Rating Scale (SRS). The SRS is a measure of the therapeutic alliance. The strength of the therapeutic alliance is considered to be a major predictor of successful outcomes. There are some therapists who view their client's rating on the SRS as being an indictment of them personally. If the rating score is low, they may feel they need to hang their head in shame. If the rating score is high, the therapist might feel that it is time to uncork the champagne. Neither of these approaches fit with what the SRS actually measures. What the SRS measures is the level of client's engagement in the therapeutic process. If the SRS rating is low, that can provide the therapist a much needed heads up that they need to try something different in order to engage their client. If the SRS rating is high, it doesn't mean that the therapist is great and they can rest on their laurels. Rather, it indicates that the therapist may be on the right track.

The other tool offered by MyOutcomes is the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS). Administered at the beginning of each session, the ORS measures the level of psychological distress experienced by the client since the last session. As the ratings given by the client are instantly plotted on a graph, one can compare the levels of distress experienced by the client since the initial therapeutic session. This measure provides the evidence of how therapy is proceeding. It is because the ORS provides this measurable evidence of therapeutic progress that MyOutcomes has been included in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs.

If you are a psychotherapist in pursuit of excellence and you are concerned about how engaged your clients are, you will not find any tool that comes close to matching MyOutcomes' power. Be warned, however, because the power of MyOutcomes' transcends simple engagement. It is for this reason that MyOutcomes is a leader in the field of feedback-informed therapy.

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The Devil's in the Quantifiable Data

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How MyOutcomes web-based application of PCOMS enables the use of quantitative data in order to make qualitative judgements about success in therapy

What students in clinical/counselling training programs and medical schools  have most in common is that they are all eager to get “out there” and start helping people. Many med students would be happy to skip the histology, biochemistry and pharmacology courses. Graduate students, on the other hand, would be thrilled to skip over the research and statistics courses. After all, they plan to go out there and help people resolve their psychological conflicts, not conduct research. Psychotherapy, they believe, is a qualitative, not a quantitative, process and, therefore, unmeasurable. So, what value can research and statistics courses have in their future?

The problem with such an approach is that it ignores our humanity, let alone reality. Human beings like to know “how much”, “when,” “what,” and “where.” Most importantly, we like to know what the goal is and when we have attained that goal. We use quantitative concepts such as these to make qualitative judgements. When we say that someone is an angry person, a decidedly qualitative notion, we do so based upon observing the frequency of their displaying angry behaviours whenever we see them, a decidedly quantitative notion. Gathering quantitative information is necessary for our survival. And all quantities begin with the data and its collection.

Hopefully, the data we collect is good data. Otherwise, we'll be prone to making erroneous decisions and mistakes. In other words, if the quantitative data we gather is faulty, our qualitative judgements will be faulty. Such outcomes are not beneficial to survival.

In the 21st century, the importance of good data to successful psychotherapy is becoming increasingly clear. As a psychotherapist, you know that outcomes are predictable and therefore, measurable. You are also aware that early change and the therapeutic alliance, both measurable, are the two best predictors of successful outcomes. What you may not be aware of is that a few decades ago, tools measuring outcomes began to be developed. Unfortunately, tools like the Partners for Change Management System (PCOMS), which measures both change and the therapeutic alliance, began as paper and pencil instruments.  I say “unfortunately,” because such instruments are dependent upon human perception, judgement and action, all of which are subject to error and, therefore, increase error. Paper and pencil instruments rely upon the practitioner's perceptions when measuring their client's responses, calculating scores from their client's responses, and recording those scores. Any mistakes made by the practitioner during this process can compromise the reliability of the measurement tool and render the client's responses useless. Unfortunately, many practitioners continue to use the paper and pencil versions.

Fortunately, the 21st century has made possible the merging of advanced technology with advanced psycho therapeutic techniques. MyOutcomes is the web-based application of PCOMS. Because it automates the objective measurement, calculation and record-keeping of clients' subjective states, errors are less likely to occur. True, bad data can creep in due to user mistakes. However, MyOutcomes has an excellent training program which can help eliminate such errors. When training reduces potential errors, the partnership between MyOutcomes and its users can only be strengthened.

What providers get when using MyOutcomes is the confidence that their clients' change scores are accurate and that their performance projections, based on over a half million administrations of MyOutcomes, are reliable. Not only can the client and the therapist see what the goal is, they can see when they have achieved that goal. What agency administrators and supervisors gain from using MyOutcomes is the confidence that the success of their providers and the records the agency uses to report that success are reliably reflecting true outcomes.

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