Systematic Feedback Shows Promise For Child and Adolescent Mental Health Therapy

child therapy

‘Systematic Feedback’ is a proven form of holistic therapy for adults. It involves the patient’s feedback, which is studied by the counselor at each feedback session. The excellent news is that two new scientific studies indicate positive benefits for adolescents and children who undertake this innovative non-invasive and non-pharmalogical treatment.

Two Study Results

The first research project involved a RCT (pilot randomized clinical trial) collaboration between three parties: Place2Be (a children’s charity); the University of Roehampton’s Department of Psychology; and BON (Better Outcomes Now), the online feedback service. The organizations tested BON’s PCOMS (Partners for Change Outcome Management System) for participant feedback intervention from 38 children aged 7-11, who had been referred for treatment, across ten British primary schools.

The scientists made a comparison of play-based counseling both without, and with the Partners for Change Outcome Management System. Those who took part in the Partners for Change Outcome Management System therapeutic sessions were asked to give feedback on how the treatment affected their mental health. This group of children: “showed an increase in mental health benefits over those who did not have this opportunity”.

Professor Dr. Mick Cooper, from the University of Roehampton, stated: “There’s strong evidence over the last twenty years that the PCOMS improves therapeutic results with adults. This is the first controlled pilot study looking at PCOMS in children, and we have found some indicators that this may be effective in improving children’s mental health too. We need to be cautious as it was a pilot study and the sample size is small, but the magnitude of effect was encouraging ”.

The second research trial was done in America, and involved a collaboration between Southwest Behavioral & Health Services; the University of Kentucky, and BON. This was a much larger study,  and involved poor children. 199 of the participants were 6-12 years of age; and 270 of the participants were between 13 and 17. – All of these had been diagnosed with depression from a sizeable public behavioral health agency. The  results indicated that: “children and adolescents who participated in the PCOMS therapeutic sessions realized clinically superior outcomes in comparison to a wait list benchmark drawn from youth depression clinical trials”.

BON’s CEO and PCOMS’ developer, Dr. Barry Duncan, remarked: “Our findings of large effect sizes and overall clinical equivalency with RCT treatment outcomes support the contention that psychotherapy that includes systematic client feedback may be an effective quality improvement strategy in services with youth in public behavioral health”.

More About Better Outcomes Now

This is the name of the app which is used for measuring the psychotherapy results for the PCOMS (Partners for Change Outcome Management System) for patient feedback intervention. PCOMS utilizes: “two, four-item measures, called the Outcome Rating Scale and the Session Rating Scale, to solicit client feedback regarding factors proven by eight randomized clinical trials to improve therapy outcomes and efficiency”.