Article punished in InPsych Magazine, August 2018. 

The regular use of standardised self-assessment and progress monitoring forms has been associated with improved client treatment outcomes. Research suggests that clinical judgment alone may not be the most accurate and effective method of predicting deterioration in client wellbeing or progress. Progress monitoring forms can be administered at regular intervals during therapy and provide ongoing, individualised and immediate client feedback. Australian researchers surveyed psychologists (N=208) about their attitudes towards using such forms with clients. About half of the psychologists surveyed found such forms useful, and 69 per cent of psychologists were using them with clients. This is in contrast with similar past surveys and with research suggesting that only 12 to 33 per cent of North American psychologists regularly use structured tools with clients. The researchers suggested that in Australia there is increased awareness of their usefulness and emphasis placed on practical- and evidence-based recommendations by government and funding regimes.

It is also becoming easier to incorporate self-monitoring tools into practice, with online tools providing access to a variety of forms and in some cases quicker scoring and evaluation methods. Those Australian psychologists using self-monitoring forms believed strongly in their usefulness, particularly for tracking client progress and to determine if changes to treatment were needed.

Contrary to expectations, attitudes towards standardised assessment did not differ between psychologists who were regularly using progress monitoring forms and those who were not. Among those not using forms the main barriers to their use was believing they take too long to administer and score and would be too much of a burden on clients.

Psychologists were more likely to be using self-monitoring forms if they were primarily treating adults and working in private practice. This suggests a need to increase awareness of self-monitoring measures relevant for work with children. The researchers suggest more psychologists might use self-monitoring forms if their perceptions of their usefulness and practicality were enhanced and if they were given suggestions for workflow management.

Chun, J., Buchanan, B (2018) A Self‐Report Survey: Australian Clinicians’ Attitudes Towards Progress Monitoring Measures. Australian Psychologist.