The Brief Services Evaluation Project
Team Leader: Karen Young M.S.W., R.S.W.
Lead research team: Dr. Surbhi Bhanot-Mahotra Ph.D., Jim Duvall M.Ed., R.S.W., and Dr. Nancy Cohen Ph.D.
With funding from the Ontario Centre of Excellence, Reach Out Centre for Kids and the Hincks Dellcrest Centre, worked together with 5 partner organizations to design the very first in Ontario comprehensive look at the effects of brief therapy/walk-in therapy for clients. The evaluation partnership spanned multiple organizations, multiple ways to deliver brief services, and multiple therapeutic approaches for brief therapy, across a client age-range from 0 to 24 years.
This evaluation examined outcomes from a sample of Ontario's brief service delivery mechanisms: walk-in clinics at Reach Out Centre for Kids, the collaboratively run What's Up Clinic based in Toronto (East Metro, Oolagen, Yorktown, Hincks-Dellcrest), Point in Time brief services in Haliburton, and Youth Services Bureau walk-in clinic in Ottawa. All serve children and youth 0-18 (some to age 24) and their families.
The evaluation addressed the following questions:
Do clients benefit from participating in a single therapy session? If so, what positive outcomes are achieved?
Are the benefit(s) from a single session maintained after 3 months?
What kinds of presenting problems are the clients experiencing who access these services?
Our methodology included a pre-test immediately prior to the brief therapy session, a post-test immediately after the session, and then a three-month post-test. The surveys used included one designed by the research team, one previously designed and published questionnaire, and one standardized measure that had been widely used. As well, key informant interviews were conducted with 3 therapists from each partner organization to determine how their thinking about brief services may have changed from their work at a walk-in clinic or brief service.
Questionnaire items were designed to measure:
• The issues that brought a client to walk-in
• Clients’ understanding of the issue that brought them to walk-in,
• Clients’ perceptions of their own skills, strengths, and problem-solving abilities,
• Clients’ knowledge of their social supports and community resources,
• The severity of the problem/issues
• Clients’ coping skills
• The presence and effects of aha moments
The Narrative Therapy Re-visiting Project - Principle researcher: Karen Young - Co-researcher: Scot Cooper
This research project reflects narrative ways of thinking and practicing and how they might shape research. The re-visiting project centred the voice of the therapy participant over the professional voice. This qualitative research was published in the Journal of Systemic Therapies (Young, K., & Cooper, S., 2008) bringing to the forefront the personal thoughts of the participants in single sessions of therapy about what was meaningful and useful in therapeutic conversations. This moves away from solely interpreted understandings of professionals and toward co-composed understandings between professionals and therapy participants. In a follow-up meeting, persons who had come for a single session of therapy returned to re-visit the session recording, meeting with a researcher to de-construct and transcribe what was important to the person in the session and the effects on their lives of these moments. All of the sessions took place at a walk-in therapy clinic and in single session brief therapy; therefore the feedback is about brief narrative practices.