Explanation of Survey Method
The graphic charts associated with this survey depict the results of surveys administered to clients who started counseling at Cary Counseling Center from August, 1994 through September, 1996. Cary Counseling routinely asked clients to rate various symptoms and problem areas when they came to their first session. Only a few people declined to complete these initial questionnaires or were immediately referred elsewhere and excluded from the study. Follow-up questionnaires were mailed to clients 6 months after they had completed the initial survey. Approximately 43 % of the mailed follow-up questionnaires were returned. The comparisons between initial and final ratings are shown for the sample of clients who provided both initial and follow-up questionnaires. Satisfaction ratings and other quality indicators are also shown for the same follow-up sample.
Caution should be used when interpreting the results of this survey. There are inherent limitations on how far one can generalize from the sample. Some of these limitations are as follows:
The follow-up questionnaires represent only 43 % of the sample of those completing the initial questionnaires. The resulting statistics may not accurately represent the perceptions of those who did not return their follow-up questionnaires. In other words, there may be a sampling bias whereby those more dissatisfied with the Center may have been less inclined to mail back their follow-up questionnaires. For this reason, the survey results should not be generalized and assumed to be representative of all clients coming to Cary Counseling Center.
The changes in symptom and problem ratings may not have been caused by counseling alone. One cannot conclude causality from observing mere coincidence. Many people come to counseling when most in crisis. We know that many crises will dissipate in time, even without professional intervention. To definitively conclude effectiveness in reducing problems and symptoms, the center would have to compare statistics with a similar control group who are denied counseling services for their problems. This is impossible to do both from an ethical and a legal standpoint.
The clients’ perceptions may not be objective ratings. There may be some bias in a client’s perception that correlates with factors such as affinity for their counselor or having to justify their having spent money and time.
Despite the above limitations, we believe it is professionally responsible to collect and make available some quality indicators on our service. Probably the most reliable and interpretable indicator is that of client satisfaction. While we cannot conclude any “success” rates for pre versus post comparisons of client problems, we can conclude that we have the high depicted rates of success in obtaining patient satisfaction for the clients who completed our follow up questionnaires. This is how we define our success.
Cary Counseling Center is an assumed business name for Allied Psychological Services, PA. which is an affiliate owner of Allied Counseling Centers, LLC. No guarantee or promise is made nor should any be assumed by past, present or future clients of these organizations regarding client satisfaction, client perception, or treatment effectiveness and outcome. Group statistics should not be applied to individual cases which will vary according to individual circumstance.