How will we know this is working? This is a question I ask my clients during the first session. It is important to me that we move forward, and if we're not, we need to find out why and work out what to do about it.
I pride myself on providing high quality and effective evidence based mental health support. I use the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS21) as my outcome measurement tool.
I have recently undertaken a review of 30 clients that I have seen over recent months that have completed six sessions. A paired samples t-test was undertaken to determine statistical significance between the beginning of treatment and at review.
As illustrated in the graphs, there was a significant difference in depression scores between the beginning of treatment (M = 21.33, SD = 8.9) compared to scores at review (M = 11.33, SD = 8.7), t(29) = 5.41, p < .001. For anxiety, there was also a significant difference between scores the beginning of treatment (M = 12.20, SD = 8.3) compared with scores at review (M = 5.67, SD = 7.1), t(29) = 5.22, p < .001. Finally, for stress, there was a significant difference in scores between the beginning of treatment (M = 21.53, SD = 8.5), compared to scores at review (M = 10.73, SD = 7.8) t(29) = 5.78, p < .001.
A number of caveats apply. Regarding my sample size, my outcomes appears consistent with a larger practice with multiple psychologists with a sample size of 100. The limitations of self report measures should also be considered. Finally and importantly, the affect of adjunct therapies and social supports could also be a factor.
What can be concluded is that while this client sample was engaged in treatment with me, there were clinically significant improvements. Adjunct therapies would have most likely been recommended and supported by me as part of my clients overall treatment plan.