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Measuring Change in University Counseling Center Students: Using Symptom Reduction and Satisfaction with Services to Propose a Model for Effective Outcome Research

Description: Abstract This study proposes a model for meeting increasingly mandated outcome research objectives in a university counseling center setting. It is proposed that counseling centers utilize their existing intake forms, along with an annual satisfaction survey to determine the effectiveness of counseling services. Effectiveness is defined as improvement and measured by the reduction of the symptoms or presenting concerns with which the client initially presented. It also introduces the Relative-Change Index (R-Chi) as an objective way to quantify intra-individual change occurring as a result of therapy. This new mathematical procedure allows for a more meaningful assessment of the client's degree of improvement, relative to their potential for improvement. By re-administering the problem checklist, routinely included as part of the initial paperwork for each client at intake, again post-therapy, it is possible to quantify improvement by measuring the difference in distressing concerns. Additionally, including a subjective, retrospective survey question asking the client to indicate their perceived rate if improvement at follow-up provides construct validity and allows for correlational comparisons with R-Chi. Results suggest that student/client ratings of the degree to which the services they received satisfactorily addressed their presenting concerns were significantly rated to their R-Chi score. This model suggests that the framework guiding client outcome research should include measures of the client's level of distress, improvement in reducing the distress, and satisfaction with services.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Quick, Cynthia L.
Partner: UNT Libraries