Value from your Marriage Counseling Investment
At Asheville Marriage Counseling I’m deeply committed to providing the best possible value when you place your trust in me to serve as your counselor.
In July 2015 I implemented a simple, but very powerful, method to regularly measure the progress my clients are making towards their goals and be sure we’re getting the most out of each session.
Clients complete a simple form when they arrive to rate their general experience of the past week in four areas; Personal Well-being, Interpersonal, Social (work-school-friendship), and Overall. It takes about two minutes.
At the end of each session, clients complete a similar form to give me feedback about that day’s counseling session on four scales; Relationship (with the counselor), Topics and Goals addressed, the Approach or Method used, and their Overall experience of the session. Again, this takes about two minutes.
Using these forms provides me immediate information about the value each client gets from every single counseling session. This lets us make adjustments quickly to be sure we’re staying on target with what’s most important and helpful. Although the forms are quite simple, they’ve been extensively tested and shown to improve clients’ satisfaction and outcomes.
A study in Denmark with 4,000 marriage and couple counselors demonstrated the power and benefits of using this very simple system. Not only did the group using the forms report higher satisfaction with their counseling, but 6 months after counseling completed those using these forms had 50% fewer separations or divorces!!!
That’s simply AMAZING… and anything offering that much added value to my clients is something I want to use!
How does Asheville Marriage Counseling Tally Satisfaction Scores?
These forms were designed for the practical purposes listed above, which is why I use them. But, they also provide a way to summarize clients’ overall satisfaction with their counseling at Asheville Marriage Counseling in a way that’s reliable, direct, and measurable; while also being totally private and anonymous.
Having this information is important to me as a therapist, so I can continuously evaluate my therapy services and be sure I’m providing good value to my clients. But, it’s also useful for anyone considering investing time and money with a marriage counselor.
Counselors and Therapists Cannot use Testimonials
Counselors’ and therapists’ ethical guidelines prohibit asking clients for testimonials or using them on our websites (even if a client offers). There are good reasons for this – all intended to protect the client. But, it creates some difficulties, since it also prevents those seeking a therapist from easily finding feedback from others who have used a particular counselor.
When the Session Rating Scale (SRS) is used to help guide therapy, it also provides an ethical way of reporting our clients’ satisfaction with their service. Certainly it’s not specific or personal as a testimonial, but it can give an overview of clients satisfaction with counseling while protecting their privacy.
Crunching the Numbers
The monthly overall client satisfaction percentages are generated using this simple method:
- In couples counseling, each partner completes their own Session Rating Scale (SRS)
- Each of the 4 scales on the SRS forms are physically measured and assigned a percentage from 0 – 100.
- The 4 scales are added together and divided by 4 – providing an overall percentage from each person for each session.
- Each month all the SRS percentages from every counseling session are added together.
- That total is divided by the number of forms.
- The result is the average level of satisfaction, combining each client and every counseling session in that month.*
Admittedly this is not a perfect method, as any statistician could easily point out. But, it’s the best method available to provide an objective ballpark sense of our current clients’ satisfaction with the counseling services they receive at Asheville Marriage Counseling.
* New clients having less than two sessions in their first month are not included in the monthly results, as the first three sessions are focused on assessment.