Engaging in therapy can have a lot of unknowns. What should I talk about? How do I start to examine my life circumstances? Will I like my therapist? What if it’s not going well?
Research shows that when people can talk openly with their therapist about how they think their sessions are going — good or bad — they feel better and actually get better, faster.
One way to facilitate these conversations is through Feedback-Informed Care, an innovative, evidence-based approach to mental health care that uses client feedback to help guide their therapeutic journey. At SonderMind, this is built right into our platform, making it easy for you to collaborate with your therapist about your care.
In this article, we’ll answer several questions about Feedback-Informed Care, and how clinical questionnaires, the questions you answer before and after a session with your therapist, play a key role in helping track and improve your mental well-being over time.
Before and after a session, you will have the opportunity to answer questions about your mental well-being through clinical questionnaires (CQs). CQs are a quick, easy, and important way for you to share how you’re really doing with your therapist.
Several types of CQs, and CQ responses, or scores, are tracked over time so you and your therapist can identify any behavior patterns or opportunities to reflect on changes in your well-being. CQs ask about a range of topics like symptoms, day-to-day functioning, and the relationship between you and your therapist. Responses are a valuable way for therapists to track progress and for clients to be as involved as possible with their care.
For various reasons, it can be hard to have a conversation about how treatment is going with your therapist. You might feel uncomfortable, scared, or nervous, and that can make it challenging to discuss a particular topic. The CQs can help by giving you the language to discuss how things are going. Over time, answering CQs has been shown to help clients develop more self-awareness of how they feel or how subtle changes in their mental health may be impacting their day-to-day lives.
CQs are also a tool for your therapist to improve their care for you. Completing CQs before a session — especially the first session — can help a therapist better understand your background. Studies have found that participating in this type of open communication is extraordinarily effective at providing positive changes early in treatment. Later on in treatment, CQs can help a therapist better understand if you are meeting your goals, your treatment is on track, or if changes to your treatment plan need to be made.
You can complete and submit your CQs right from the SonderMind portal in under ten minutes. CQs are also sent with appointment reminders, so you’ll have time to provide answers before your session.
All SonderMind clients will receive a baseline questionnaire to complete before their first session. Completing this will help provide simple but critical feedback on how you feel right from the beginning. From time to time, you will receive periodic questionnaires to complete. Your responses will provide insight into whether any changes to your treatment plan should be considered.
Completing CQs is optional; however, we strongly encourage and recommend completion, as our questionnaires have been shown to track improvement over time with great accuracy.
Your therapist will review your responses to identify any changes since your previous session or even since your very first session with them. SonderMind never shares personal data — including your CQ responses — with anyone except your licensed therapist.
If you have additional questions about clinical questionnaires or participating in Feedback- Informed Care, we encourage discussing these concerns or questions with your therapist first. You can also call us at 844-THERAPY.
Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy Forum: “Feedback-Informed Care: A Data-Driven Approach to Improving Mental Health Care at Kaiser Permanente.”
Miller, Scott. Using Formal Client Feedback to Improve Retention and Outcome: Making Ongoing, Real-time Assessment Feasible. Journal of Brief Therapy.