"Keep in mind that good therapy may actually be less pleasant than bad therapy, and that a therapist who challenges you to take responsibility for your life, your choices, and your future is better than one who teaches you to blame all problems on other people and your past." Source: http://www.stopbadtherapy.com/test/therapy.shtml Evaluate Your Therapy

What is evaluation within the systemic approach?

According to the Wikipedia entry, evaluation is the "comparison of actual impacts against strategic plans. It looks at original objectives, at what was accomplished and how it was accomplished." This is a good start, because it assumes that there was some planning, and that some objectives had been worked out, and worked on.

During the therapy process the objectives might change, and some might become more of a priority than they were originally, but the stance of working to make progress, and knowing what that would look and feel like remains constant.

I came across this useful "continuum" chart of evaluation methods.

Continuum of Evaluation Methods






Frequently the case

Anecdotes, stories, uncritical

Careful, truth seeking feedback

Designed, commissioned,


 Although the authors have a public (governmental) policy focus their comment that "total neglect of evaluation ... is the norm" applies equally, if not more so, to the field of psychotherapy. Source: http://profwork.org/pp/evaluate/explain.html

Evaluation starts at the beginning

Evaluation is typically seen as a review process, looking back on what was done. My preference is to recognize that things are always in motion and that the most "stuck" issue or problem or symptom is more or less troubling on some days than others. Our work together is about developing a partnership in building your realistic and ethical more successful future. My task is to help to make it easier to recognise and to achieve this journey. I will help you to become a better observer through use of scaling questions, so, having established where you judge yourself to be at the moment, I might ask "How will you recognise when you are one point further up the scale?

If our process becomes stuck I will remind myself of de Shazer's principle that there is "no such thing as resistance, only the client’s unique way of cooperating. It is part of the therapist’s task to seek ways to engage with the client successfully. If the client did not do a task, then the fault is with the task and its timing or presentation, not with the client."