Dateline: Sunday, April 25th, 2010 Chicago, IL
There’s a feeling I get whenever I’m learning something new. It’s a combination of wonder and possibility. Even though I’ve been traveling and teaching full time for over 18 years, I still feel that get that feeling of excitement whenever I step on a plane: What will I see? Who will I meet? What will I learn? Move over Indiana Jones, you’ve got nothing on me!
On my desk right now are stacks of books on the subject of expertise and expert performance: The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How, The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong, The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity, The Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise, Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average, and many, many more.
On the floor, arranged in neat little piles, are reams of research articles, newspaper clippings, and pages torn out of magazines. Literally, all on the same subject: how can we clinicians reliably achieve better results?
I’ve never been one to “settle” for very long. It’s the journey not the destination I find appealing. Thus, I began exploring the common factors when it became clear that treatment models contributed little if anything to outcome (click here to read the history of this transition). When I became convinced that the common factors held little promise for improving results in psychotherapy, I followed the lead of two my mentors, professor Michael Lambert (who I worked with as an undergraduate) and psychologist Lynn Johnson (who trained and supervised me), and began measuring outcome and seeking feedback. Now that research has firmly established that using measures of the alliance and outcome to guide service delivery significantly enhances performance (see the comprehensive summary of research to date below), I’ve grown restless again.
In truth, I find discussions about the ORS and SRS a bit, well, boring. That doesn’t mean that I’m not using or teaching others to use the measures. Learning about the tools is an important first step. Getting clinicians to actually use them is also important. And yet, there is a danger if we stop there.
Right now, we have zero evidence that measurement and feedback improves the performance of clinicians over time. More troubling, the evidence we do have strongly suggests that clinicians do not learn from the feedback they receive from outcome and alliance measures. Said another way, while the outcome of each particular episode of care improves, clinicians overall ability does not. And that’s precisely why I’m feeling excited–the journey is beginning…
…and leads directly to Kansas City where, on October 20-22nd, 2010, leading researchers and clinicians will gather to learn the latest, evidence-based information and skills for improving performance in the field of behavioral health. As of today, talented professionals from Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, England, Israel, and the United States have registered for the international “Achieving Clinical Excellence” conference. Some common questions about the event include:
1. What will I learn?
How to determine your overall effectiveness and what specifically you can do to improve your outcomes.
2. Is the content new?
Entirely. This is no repeat of a basic workshop or prior conferences. You won’t hear the same presentations on the common factors, dodo verdict, or ORS and SRS. You will learn the skills necessary to achieve your personal best.
3. Are continuing education credits available?
Absolutely–up to 18 hours depending on whether you attend the pre-conference “law and ethics” training. By the way, if you register now, you’ll get the pre-conference workshop essentially free! Three days for one low price.
4. Will I have fun?
Guaranteed. In between each plenary address and skill building workshop, we’ve invited superior performers from sports, music, and entertainment to perform and inspire . If you’ve never been to Kansas City, you’ll enjoy the music, food, attractions, and architecture.
Feel free to email me with any questions or click here to register for the conference. Want a peak at some of what will be covered? Watch the video below, which I recorded last week in Sweden while “trapped” behind the cloud of volcanic ash. In it, I talk about the “Therapists Most Likely to Succeed.”