CORC in Portugal - Reflections from recent INSPIRE Conference

The 3rd INSPIRE work meeting took place on the 3rd and 4th of June, in Braga, Portugal, and marked the second time CORC has joined. INSPIRE stands for International Network Supporting Psychotherapy Innovation and Research into Effectiveness, whose main goal is to exchange ideas about the ‘state of the art’ in psychotherapy outcome research. This objective aligns well with the work we do at CORC, so as last year, we joined once again this diverse group of researchers, clinicians, and practitioners for two days of talks, discussions and presentations. This year we presented, jointly with Célia Sales (University of Porto) and Mick Cooper (University of Roehampton), on the challenges of capturing change using idiographic measures, contributing some of the work conducted by the CORC research team on the Goal Based Outcomes (GBO) tool. Our presentation sparked a lively conversation, with a range of suggestions offered on how to look at data from idiographic measures. For example, whether the challenge that goals may change throughout therapy can be turned into a strength: a change in goals might be an indicator for therapy progress in terms of the client becoming more flexible.

The meeting started with a presentation on ‘Feedback and the Contextual Model of Psychotherapy’, highlighting a recent piece of research by She et al. (2018) which found positive effects of improved outcomes and increased efficiency associated with systemic client feedback in college students attending counselling in China. We also listened to presentations addressing the APQ (Ambivalence in Psychotherapy Questionnaire) measure, and a presentation on the groundwork for an international qualitative study on measurement-based care. There was a talk that introduced us to the Trier Treatment Navigator used for personalised, research-informed and data-driven psychotherapy practice, and a proposal to increase journal reporting of therapist characteristics. We were also joined remotely by Kim de Jong, a founder of the INSPIRE group, and heard her comments and presentation.

One of the highlights was the presentation by Christian Moltu (Førde Health Trust, Norway), in which he introduced the Norwegian Outcome Response System for Evaluation (NORSE). He provided a detailed look inside the system’s many fascinating features, from the moment a service user uses the phone app in the waiting room to the report delivered to the clinician, as well as an explanation of how the feedback provided could help tailor an individualised therapeutic approach. Media attention for the system had even included the prime minister of Norway visiting a clinic to see its implementation.

Dana Atzil-Slonim (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) presented an exciting research project on the role of vocal qualities in intra-personal and inter-personal emotion regulation in psychotherapy. The researchers identified vocal qualities relevant for emotional regulation. Data from many therapy sessions then showed a pattern of sequences between therapist and client that was associated with better session outcomes.

In the true collaborative spirit of the meeting, the talks inspired lively debate from the audience.

The passion of those involved was also a catalyst to seek potential collaborations and involvement in many forms. We left with much more knowledge and with new ideas for our research projects, particularly around idiographic measures such as Goals. We will hopefully be joining them again at the next meeting (location and time to be determined) and perhaps we can discuss the progress made, encouraged by a fruitful meeting that was indeed inspiring.


Luís Costa da Silva joined CORC in April 2018 as a Research Associate

Marianne Promberger joined CORC in January 2018 as a Senior Research Officer

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