Sometimes, the most challenging part of selling a childhood home is leaving the line of pencil marks in the kitchen doorway – the testament to a lifetime of growth. Neither children nor adults can resist revisiting their measurements, delighting in their progress and remarkable change. If these little pencil swipes can motivate a toddler to eat her veggies or brothers to “race” to the tallest, surely such progress markers can also be motivational in therapy.
Once the initial orientation stage of therapy has ended, patients and counselors begin identifying and exploring a patient's patterns of thought. At this vulnerable time, patients must be supported to carry on with their crucial, often complex, work. But how does a therapist motivate their patient to return to this uncomfortable place? By tracking progress in therapy.
4 Ways to Show Patients Their Progress in Therapy
Sharing progress in therapy is a collaboration and depends on a reflective patient and a therapist who diligently tracks progress. Celebrating these milestones together will keep clients engaged in their work and can drastically improve retention for therapists. Have your client ask themselves the following four questions periodically, and encourage them to see how far they’ve come!
- Has my mood improved?
Often, taking the step of starting therapy is enough to begin shifting a client's mood. Do they feel happier than when they started treatment? More empowered? Better informed?
Taking and recording stock of life's emotional ups and downs may reveal that a patient's emotional patterns have shifted toward healthier, more contented feelings.
2. Am I changing the way I think?
Changing habits of thought can be difficult, and patients who make a concerted effort to shift their thinking should be celebrated. After all, our thoughts are the seeds of action, and once thinking shifts, actions follow.
3. Are my relationships improving?
Patients who are making progress in therapy will have results that ripple beyond themselves. Higher relationship satisfaction is a sure sign of progress in treatment.
4. Is my contentment with my life growing?
Satisfaction in our day-to-day life can be devastatingly fleeting. However, patients who see a pattern of improvement in their overall contentment will feel the benefits therapy provides them. Growing satisfaction with their lives is exciting for clients and will undoubtedly improve retention.
Make Goals for Progress
When measuring therapy progress and outcomes, the goals need to be quantifiable. So, if your client is trying to quit smoking and cope with anxiety using meditation, make the goal measurable: fewer cigarettes and a few minutes of meditation weekly. Tracking these concrete achievements will tell you how much progress your patient is making in therapy. Whether that progress sticks will tell you whether your methodology is sound.
Develop a System for Tracking Progress
Therapists eager to support clients in their progress should have a system for capturing information during treatment. Keeping this information organized and accessible will make tracking progress in therapy simple and user-friendly. After all, when counselors share progress in therapy, it improves client retention because clients are proud of their improvement!
Openly and excitedly noting positive changes in your patient's progress allows therapy to become a goal-oriented, optimistic exercise. When patients feel fulfilled in their work with counselors, they are eager to maintain their therapeutic work. For the most current technology built to support therapists in tracking clients' progress and outcomes, contact MyOutcomes today.