FIT and outcome measurement are NOT therapy methods.
No matter how often I say this to people, it is hard for psychologists to grasp the difference as most of our training and CPD is all about therapy models and methods.
I have explained to other therapists that FIT and outcome measurement are pan-theoretical ideas and I have found that I get blank looks.
Essentially what I am saying is Outcome Measures are like GPS on a car. They are “how-are-you-going” type measures of wellbeing. Measures like the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS), or symptom measures such as the DASS allow us to measure change and hopefully steer the therapy session in the right direction.
The Session Rating Scale (SRS) or the ARM-5 (available on novopsych.com.au) are measures of the therapeutic alliance that allow us to adjust what we are doing in therapy according to feedback from clients on the goals and topics, approach, and the relationship with the therapist.
We measure these factors to check in on whether things are improving or not, according to the client, rather than relying on our assumptions on how the client and relationship are going.
I use the FIT tools as “book ends” to a therapy session: ORS at the start and SRS at the end.
Within the therapy session is where I would conduct further assessment, facilitate interventions, plan treatment, share my formulation, practice skills or facilitate experiential exercises—whatever mef and the client agree would be helpful or consistent with the plan.
The “book ends” (ORS and SRS) let me know the client is responding to what we are doing in session and whether it is helping them in their life.
It makes psychological treatment doable and puts less pressure on myself to “perform”.
The graph of progress (that is automatically created by FIT software) is then something the client and I can look at, share and understand, and adjust what is needed for them. I have plenty of therapeutic skills, but I am only as good as this moment with this client.
Over the 25 years of using these measures, I have overall found them liberating… even if at times, I have had to push myself to administer them.
What I have learnt is that when I don’t administer the measures with a client (often because the first session has been difficult) I will wish I had by about session 3!