In this episode, Gordon talks with Tara Vossenkemper about how to know what you are doing as a clinician is working. Tara recently started a group practice and looks at lots of different numbers to determine how the business is operating. Also, Tara and her clinicians use multiple different methods to determine if their clients have valuable experiences during therapy. Stay tuned to hear about anonymous feedback surveys, DAS screening, Outcome Rating Scales, and Session Rating Scales.
Meet Tara Vossenkemper
Measuring the Group Practice
Tara has seven clinicians and uses the 1099 (contractor) model of hiring people, although she would like to switch to a W-2 (employee) model. She specializes in couples work, marriage counseling, and existential crises. Tara does not have KPI’s (key performance indicators) in mind. Some things that she does pay attention to are conversion rates, number of sessions, number of cancellations, attendance rates, retention per clinician, gross revenue per clinician, and profit per clinician.
Tara started with an Excel spreadsheet and would track on her KPI’s. Her Excel sheets automatically do the calculations on their own like averages, running totals, and quarterly totals, whereas initially, she was counting everything up. Now she is using Google Sheets because they allow you to import cells from other sheets. Tara can spend hours working on the dashboard, it’s fun! Gordon says you can create a Google form that will automatically populate to a Google sheet. The Google sheet will then do the calculations for you. These are some of the favorite tools that come with Google G-Suite.
Tara assesses whether or not her clinical work is effective by doing check-ins with her clients. She asks questions such as: How is it working for you? How are we doing? Are we a good fit for each other? She has these obvious and essential conversations with her clients to ensure they are working well together.
Anonymous Feedback Surveys
Tara has also started implementing anonymous feedback surveys. They send out surveys after the intake sessions and after the termination of sessions. The first leg is focused on the clinician and asking questions like if they are safe and heard. The termination survey is about the clinician and also the effectiveness of the therapy. Did the client get what they came for?
Giving clients a DAS (depression, anxiety, and stress) screening is part of their intake. It is not a diagnostic measure, it just a screening tool. Not only do they use the screening at intake, but they use it for follow-ups at three and six months. Ideally, in therapy, the depression, anxiety, and stress numbers should be decreasing.
ORS and SRS
In addition, Tara and her clinicians use an Outcome Rating Scale (ORS). It helps them determine how the client has been feeling and how well they have been doing in certain areas of their life. For instance, the client determines how they are doing individually, interpersonally, socially, and overall. They will also use a Session Rating Scale (SRS) that determines how well they related with the clinician. The sheets were created by Barry L. Duncan, Scott D. Miller, and Jacqueline A. Sparks.
Tara is pretty particular about what people they bring on as clinicians. Very rarely do they have concerns on session rating scales. If they get a low score, you can help that person develop as a clinician and deepen their interactions with clients. You also want to be thinking about if the person is working with the right clientele. Perhaps you are setting them up with someone who has other needs than what the clinician provides.
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Meet Gordon Brewer, MEd, LMFT
Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog.He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Follow us on Instagram @TPOTPodcast, Twitter @therapistlearn and Pinterest “Like” us on Facebook.