Counselling · Psychotherapy · CBT · Mindfulness · Art Therapy · Compassion
Carbury, Co. Kildare · Tels: 0873977828 / 0862272917
How do I know if therapy works?
What is evidence-based practice?
You might not be sure if therapy will work for you, or you might be anxious about how many sessions you will need. You might have heard of people that attend therapy for quite some time and are not sure if it worked for them, or you might have heard the opposite: people who were very certain that therapy helped them, and did so quite quickly. This can be confusing. From listening to our clients' experiences of therapy, we have often had people coming to us that have been to therapy before, but left because they were not getting what they wanted, yet they tell us they never approached their therapist about this, and that their therapist never asked either. Likewise, they might have really benefited from therapy, but this was not really discussed with their therapist either. This is not always the case by any means and, thankfully, we often hear of people who have openly discussed their progress with their therapists, but too often, we have heard the opposite. Because of this, we really believe in evidence-based practice, and use special tools in our practice at the beginning, throughout, and at the end of your therapy, to measure your progress in therapy. The results of the questionnaires give us an idea of how you are doing at the time you complete it, and whether therapy is working or not. If you are attending therapy, you will definitely have a personal sense of whether you are getting what you want from the sessions, but because of the subjective nature of emotional and psychological wellbeing, it is not like getting a blood test or an x-ray, where you can see very clearly whether there is a positive change or not. Therefore these questionnaires can be very useful.
Damien and Antonia believe that just 'getting a sense' of whether things are working is simply not enough for us as practitioners. We do believe that a felt sense of what is happening (both our felt sense and your own felt sense) is incredibly valuable and important, and discuss this with you routinely. However, we feel that it is also important to use more solid evidence to gauge whether things are progressing or not for you. For this reason, and apart from regularly checking with you whether you are getting something valuable from the sessions, we also use validated psychological self-reported questionnaires (which you complete yourself with pen and paper) to evaluate your levels of distress in different areas of your life. We invite you to complete a questionnaire at the start of your therapy. This takes under 5 minutes and measures where your level of distress is when you begin, then you complete the questionnaire every few sessions throughout the therapy, so we can monitor your progress together (we want to see the level of distress going down) and, finally, we invite you to do the questionnaire on the last session. This gives us valuable feedback. If your level of distress is going down, we can continue using the same approach and, if it isn't, we can change to another more useful approach, constantly monitoring if this is having any positive effects.
We really believe that this is a hugely beneficial tool both for us as therapists and for you as the client. For us, we can see clear evidence of whether the service and approach we are offering you is working or not, and use this feedback to decide what approach might be more beneficial. We also believe it is beneficial for you, as you can see for yourself, on paper, whether there is any change or not, and this can validate your own feelings and assist you in verbalizing whether you feel you are getting what you want. It can be difficult to tell your therapist honestly if you don't feel any benefits, especially if your confidence is low or you are feeling vulnerable, so this can be a great way to bring up the conversation in an atmosphere of openness and safety. We want to hear if therapy is working or not, as we want to offer you the best service possible!
While we invite and encourage you to do these questionnaires, it is absolutely voluntary and if, for whatever reason, you do not feel comfortable doing them, that is absolutely fine and we can proceed with therapy without them, and gauge whether therapy is working by using your own feedback.