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How often should I administer the questionnaires?

The questionnaires are designed to be easily administered at every session and provide information that may be useful to the clinician in the session. Frequent use of the questionnaires also assures that all of the improvement in an episode of care is measured.

  • Research indicates that patients treated by clinicians who administered and reviewed outcome questionnaires at every session had a better probability of a positive outcome.
  • Research indicates that client change tends to take place quickly, once therapy is initiated. This finding is supported with real-world data -- and is reflected in the predicted change trajectories which have a high slope during the initial few sessions, but tend to plateau as the number of sessions increases (i.e., change takes place rapidly, but comes in increasingly smaller increments with long-term clients). By administering the questionnaires less frequently, it becomes more difficult to identify clients that are at risk for treatment failure (those clients who do not experience early change), and the opportunity to prevent treatment drop-out may be lost. It is recommended, therefore, that clinicians consider this pattern of change, when less frequent questionnaire administration is desired (e.g., administer the questionnaire at session 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 12, 16, 20...).
  • The average number of client visits in an episode of outpatient therapy is less than 10, with the modal number being 1. In many practices, half of the clients complete an episode of treatment in 5 or fewer sessions. In order to obtain a measure of outcome on more than half of your clients, it may be necessary to administer the questionnaire a second time by the third session at the latest.

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