The Center conducts ongoing research on client demographics, the course of counseling, and clinical outcomes. All trainees and interns participate in data collection for this project as an integral part of their internship.
What we learn through research into the results of our work reinforces our belief in the unique effectiveness of the School-Based Family Counseling model in the treatment of school students, produces ongoing feedback to further refine the model and, most crucially, helps all of us to improve the quality of our services to our clients.
Taking on Active Roles | Allen Ivey suggests that one way of looking at our role in counseling is as "scientist-practitioner." That is, in collaboration with our clients, we form hypotheses about the nature of their problems and the types of solutions available to them. We gather data, and may encourage our clients to gather their own data about their experiences and their ways of responding. We test hypotheses, we generate alternative explanations, and we seek understandings which set our clients free for more fulfillment in life.
Measuring and Monitoring Clients
Another, more formal, way of fulfilling the role of scientist-practitioner is to measure and monitor change in our clients’ lives through standardized instruments. To this end we have designed and developed a variety of instruments to help us get to know our clients’ needs and their demographics, as well as their progress in treatment. The ongoing collection of data by means of these customized instruments is another first for the USF Center for Child and Family Development.
Few community counseling programs (much less private practices) have a systematic method to ascertain the value of their services, whether as perceived by the treating professional or as experienced by the client. The growing body of research material amassed by the Center represents a vast store of knowledge for ongoing analysis and is used by us in the preparation of development requests to grantors and fundors.