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A Critical Predictor of Therapeutic Success: "Goodness of Fit"
Research shows that one of the most important factors in successful therapeutic outcomes is the relationship between a therapist and a client. The official terminology for the interpersonal dynamics between the professional and client is "Goodness of Fit."
Be a Smarter Consumer
Due to the sensitive nature of therapy, clients may not relate to themselves as “consumers,” but therapy is a very important investment in your overall health and well-being. You will want to know that you have made the right choice in the professional who is charged with the responsibility of helping you and your family. The smartest consumers heed the age-old adage, “Buyer Beware.” Much of the early stage of therapy is similar no matter which therapist you are working with. The difference will be in how a client feels while this foundation is forming. When there is a good match between client and therapist, it is referred to as a good “goodness of fit,” and without goodness of fit, the outcomes of therapy can be less than ideal.
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Marriage and Family Therapy Services
The Importance of Actually Measuring Goodness of Fit
Therapists at Marriage and Family Therapy Services utilize a unique and very valuable tool for measuring client-satisfaction. We survey clients at the beginning and end of each session, to measure the impact of therapy and whether or not there is a goodness of fit. This assessment tool provides us with concrete information about the client's level of satisfaction with the therapeutic process, and whether or not client's needs are being met. Tracking this feedback is extremely useful to therapeutic progress and helps us truly customize therapy to the unique individuals involved.
The general public might be surprised to know that many therapists do not use this type of measurement tool, as it can seem intimidating to constantly be asking clients whether or not therapy is useful. But we know the value of receiving feedback, and understand that clients have a better chance of getting what they need if we consistently ask for this information.Collecting this kind of data regularly also gives us a chance to recognize when therapeutic progress is being made, and it alerts us to occasional setbacks. Therapists can work in consult with clients to help shape the treatment plan and discern the goodness of fit effectively.
What if There is Poor "Goodness of Fit?"
Occasionally, referrals to a different therapist can be useful. Your therapist may be able to transfer you to a different clinician within the same practice, or you may be referred to another professional agency. Inter-agency transfers can be more convenient and require less of a transition, since the original therapist can discuss the case with the new clinician, requiring less redundancy on the part of the client.
At Marriage and Family Therapy Services, some of our clinicians offer no-cost initial consults. These meetings last between 15 and 30 minutes, and they give potential clients and therapists an opportunity to get to know each other before the client makes a decision about whether or not to begin the rewarding yet challenging process of therapy.
Contact Victoria Mason or Brenton Queen to schedule a free initial consult today.
Is Your Therapist a "Good Match"?
Therapists are people too and sometimes, for various reasons, personalities simply may not match. Even the best therapists know this and certainly do not take it personally. If, in the early stage of therapy, a client does not feel heard, understood, or appreciated by the therapist, it can be a mistake to conclude that therapy is not working. What may be happening instead is a poor goodness of fit. If this happens to you, the best course of action is to mention it to your therapist, even though it may feel difficult to do. Just like a first date where one person is enjoying themselves and the other is not, poor goodness of fit may not always be apparent to both parties. Communicating this gives the therapist an opportunity to discuss and explore options with you.
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