In order for therapists to provide clients with the most effective services possible, they must thoroughly understand the systematic research that contributes to successful therapy. Outcomes research seeks to answer the following questions: Which interventions work best for which types of clients, and under what circumstances?
The results of outcomes research are used to inform the decisions of legislative bodies that make decisions related to healthcare, as well as financial bodies (governments, insurers, employers etc.) who seek to minimize cost and waste while ensuring the provision of an acceptable level of care. Clients also have a significant stake in outcomes research because it facilitates their decision-making, both in deciding what intervention is best for them given their circumstances, and as members of the public who have to ultimately bear the burden of cost for medical and mental health services.
Research indicates that a significant amount of adolescents actually get worse with treatment, not including the many who simply do not improve. Outcomes play a key role in reducing treatment failure. Outcomes allow clinicians to better understand what they do well and what they do not do well (and thus, who they are more likely going to be able to help and who they are more likely not going to be able to help).
Sadly, there is a scarcity of sound research among the hundreds of high quality residential treatment centers and wilderness programs in the U.S. As a field, we would be wise to look in the mirror and realize that it is time to put forth more effort in outcomes research. We need to move beyond anecdotal testimonials as a matrix for success.
For the past 13 years, New Haven has made Outcomes Research a priority. All of our research has been made available at www.NewHavenRTC.com/outcome-data/
By, Rick Biesinger