Trust us, we know it can be frustrating completing a mountain of paperwork and questionnaires when you may already be nervous about your first appointment with a new psychologist. Then, just when you think the torture is over and you’ve got comfortable with your therapist, they make you do more a few sessions in – the forms may even look familiar! If you’re really lucky, you may have a clinician that smiles and slides those pesky questionnaires over to you every… single… session!
So, what’s with all the questions? We promise we don’t just make you tick and flick for fun.
These questionnaires are actually what we call psychometric measures, which is the fancy way of saying a lot of research went into figuring out how to assess something in a reliable, standardised way in the psychology world.
They Help Us Figure Out Your Problem
We know you may have a lot to say about what’s been going on but not all clients are master communicators. Some people struggle to put their distress into words while others get lost in a sea of thoughts so honing in on important questions can provide structure. Many measures are based around criteria of disorders, which alongside a clinical interview, can help us form a diagnosis. Scoring usually assists in measuring the severity of symptoms too, which can be important for diagnoses.
They Track Your Progress
Of course we want to hear that subjectively you’ve noticed an improvement in symptoms but repeated measures allow both you and us to objectively track changes in the intensity of those symptoms across treatment. We often forget how far we’ve come, so if you’re a visual person, think of the pretty graphs that can be created to map your journey from the start of therapy to the end.
They Ensure Your Service Continues to be Funded
Granted, you may pay your psychologist privately or still have to stump up a gap fee but many services are also fully funded. Funders audit services regularly to ensure money is being used effectively so de-identified scores can be used (with your consent) to make sure your psychology organisation is achieving targets around helping clients reach their treatment goals.
If that doesn’t make you feel better about all those paper cuts, take comfort in knowing that for every questionnaire you complete, your psychologist has to schedule time to score and interpret it! Remember, you can ask your psychologist at any time to give you more information on the questionnaires they ask you to complete, including what your scores mean.