Liz Hoggarth: Outcome evaluation – help is on the way

“Many of us react instinctively against further demands to produce evidence, especially quantitative information – we know all too well that progress with clients is made up of tiny, often faltering, steps forward that are extremely difficult to demonstrate or quantify. There are downsides to the outcomes approach as there are to other systems of planning and evaluation. But the question of outcomes is a perfectly legitimate one. The number of visits made to a family is beside the point if the risks are not picked up and appropriate interventions are not identified to begin to help people deal with the problems. The number of counselling sessions provided is hardly important if in the end they made no difference for the person seeking help. We must address outcomes in order to improve services.”

Chris Nicholson on Creative Therapeutic Approaches with traumatised young people

“Through sensitively handled, creative interaction and by the use of ‘creative’ approaches with traumatised young people their characteristic rigidity begins to loosen. New possibilities emerge, the mutative nature of create endeavours. In time, they may be able to see painfully familiar situations in different and helpful ways that can lead to their forming a new response.”

Jenny Weinstein on Service User Involvement in Mental Health Care

“Working with service users has taught me that professionals like me, however experienced or well trained we think we are, often miss the most important issues from a user’s perspective. I believe that hearing service users’ views and having service users involved centrally in all aspects of planning, developing and evaluating services is absolutely vital to ensure high quality services that are fit for purpose.”