Students Attend Barry Duncan Workshop

4 Commentsby   |  09.10.10  |  Uncategorized

Friday, September 3, MFT students were privileged to attend a workshop with noted author and researcher Barry Duncan. The workshop, hosted by the ACU Counseling Center, provided an educational opportunity for students and mental health professionals in the Abilene area.

Barry Duncan is the director of The Heart and Soul of Change Project, a practice, training, and evidence-based initiative that applies common factors and feedback research to ensure consumer voice in care, improve outcomes, and make therapists better at what they do. Duncan provided an engaging and informative workshop based on empirically validated and replicated research on the common factors of change in therapy, with specific attention to the therapeutic alliance. Instead of placing emphasis on a specific theory, from which there are hundreds to choose, Duncan urged therapists to draw on client’s resourcefulness, and to use the therapeutic alliance the catalyst for change.

The workshop taught the value of client feedback both as a way to improve client outcomes and therapist effectiveness over time. Duncan introduced the Outcome Ratings Scale (ORS) and Session Ratings Scale (SRS) and gave participants opportunity to practice administering the simple client-based feedback assessments as a way to create a more effective therapeutic alliance. Students now have the opportunity to participate in research on client-based feedback as they see clients at the Marriage and Family Institute.

To obtain copies of the ORS and SRS, as well as more information about the effectiveness of client-based feedback visit


  1. Kevin Burnette
    11:05 pm, 09.10.10

    After Dr. Duncan’s workshop, I administered the ORS and the SRS to my very next clients, a couple I was seeing for their third session,who were just finishing up the assessment phase. A quick look at their SRS forms showed me that I wasn’t as on-track with that session as I thought I was. Now I can address the fact that my approach wasn’t exactly meeting their needs rather than have them drop out after 1 or 2 more sessions and me not have a clear idea as to why.

    I would encourage everyone to at least consider the benefits of (close to) real-time feed-back and how it could augment our our clinical skills and judgement.

    -Kevin Burnette

  2. Emily
    10:27 am, 09.11.10

    The SRS has already been extremely helpful to me as well. It was especially good for one of my clients who has a hard time expressing what she wants and how she feels. Using the assessment she was able to show me how she was feeling and it really clarified what was actually helpful to her in therapy. I’m still honing in a good way to present the SRS though so that clients feel the most open to giving honest feedback without worrying about criticising you. One of my clients after filling it out said in a concerned voice “Are you getting graded on this?” So that was a failed set up, but I’m getting better. Good luck!
    – Emily Savage

  3. Jaime Goff
    7:37 pm, 09.20.10

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Kevin and Emily. I’ve started using it with my clients as well, even those I’ve already been seeing for a while. They seemed honored that I asked them for feedback and appreciative of my desire to continue improving my skills, even though all of them know I’ve been practicing for quite a while. I think it provides a good example. We expect our clients to make efforts to improve their lives, and using the ORS and SRS shows them that we’re committed to making improvements as well.

  4. Barry Duncan
    7:42 am, 12.21.10

    Thanks for this blog, Sarah, and thanks to Kevin, Emily, and Jaime for your comments. I appreciate the courage it takes to try something new and I am gratified that you saw the benefit in your work.

    Best wishes for your continued growth as a therapist.

    And Merry Christmas!

    Barry Duncan

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