The Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS) Revisiting the Client’s Frame of Reference

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Despite overall psychotherapy efficacy (Lambert, 2013), many clients do not benefit (Reese, Duncan, Bohanske, Owen, & Minami, 2014), dropouts are a problem (Swift & Greenberg, 2012), and therapists vary significantly in success rates (Baldwin & Imel, 2013), are poor judges of negative outcomes (Chapman et al., 2012), and grossly overestimate their effectiveness (Walfish, McAlister, O’Donnell, & Lambert, 2012). Systematic client feedback offers 1 solution (Duncan, 2014). Several feedback systems have emerged (Castonguay, Barkham, Lutz, & McAleavey, 2013), but only 2 have randomized clinical trial support and are included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices: The Outcome Questionnaire–45.2 System (Lambert, 2010) and the Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS; Duncan, 2012). This article presents the current status of PCOMS, the psychometrics of the PCOMS measures, its empirical support, and its clinical and training applications. Future directions and implications of PCOMS research, training, and practice are detailed. Finally, we propose that systematic feedback offers a way, via large-scale data collection, to reprioritize what matters to psychotherapy outcome, reclaim our empirically validated core values and identity, and change the conversation from a medical model dominated discourse to a more scientific, relational perspective.

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