Mental health professionals are dedicated to improving outcomes in therapy. Research over the past 50 years has shown psychotherapy to be effective in both improving the functioning of and diminishing the overall distress experienced by clients. Several factors have been constant predictors of outcome in therapy, including length of treatment, early client change, and client rating of alliance. Even so, mental health professionals do not often formally elicit feedback about a client’s experiences during the process of therapy. This could be explained by a desire not to receive negative feedback from clients, or it could be that clinicians believe they can accurately judge their client’s outcome without feedback. Research has found that clinicians often misjudge their client’s outcome or fail to predict when a client’s condition might deteriorate. Understanding the relationship between feedback and outcome in routine use can allow clinicians to use feedback from clients to enhance the effectiveness of treatment across multiple treatment settings. There have been few studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of feedback on outcome, more studies across multiple populations is needed to address this hole in the literature.
The present study fills this gap in the research on the relationship between feedback and outcome in psychotherapy with individuals and couples. This study examined the question, What is the relationship between feedback and outcome with clients receiving at least five sessions in therapy? The two arms of this study captured different groups: One group was individuals experiencing feedback in counseling; the other group was couples experiencing feedback in counseling. In terms of methods, the study employed a repeated-measures analysis of longitudinal archival data, using multiple regression analysis to understand the relationship between feedback and outcomes for these different groups. The predictor variable was the Session Rating Scale, and the criterion variable was the Outcome Rating Scale. The findings showed a statistically significant relationship between feedback and outcome in both individual therapy and couples counseling. These results indicated utilizing feedback in therapy can be beneficial for outcomes in multiple therapeutic conditions.