When individuals enter into a medical doctor’s office, the first thing that is done is a check of the vital signs. Typically, medical professionals take a person’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and weight. These vital signs are considered the first assessment of wellness, as these measurements provide an initial clue into healthy body function. When medical professionals notice elevations in specific vital areas, this may be cause for further evaluation.
- So, what are the vital signs for psychological, emotional, and relationship wellness?
- Is there a "blood pressure range" to strive for with regard to emotional wellness or a "temperature range” to maintain to be considered well within relationships?
While there is not an exact parallel between medical vital signs and relationship/psychological/emotional vital signs, some psychologists choose to use psychological inventories, checklists, or other diverse measures to check the vitals in psychological, emotional, and relationship domains. These inventories provide information at the beginning of conducting psychotherapy and may also be used throughout therapy to re-check the vitals. Having some measure of progress that can be evaluated helps clients track changes in the vital areas. The measurements may also provide information about how psychotherapy is going and if new types of approaches may need to be implemented. In their study that analyzed the impact of diverse progress monitoring measures, Goodman, McKay, & DePhilippis (2013) found that diverse forms of progress monitoring measurements have the potential to significantly improve treatment outcomes. They suggest that progress measurements help to provide consistent feedback to both the client and the psychotherapist, which in turn, has the potential to impact how treatment is approached.
When’s the last time that you had your relationship, psychological, and/or emotional vital signs checked?
Goodman, J.D., McKay, J.R., & DePhilippis, D. (2013). Progress monitoring in mental health and addiction treatment: A means of improving care. Professional Psychology Research and Practice, 44, 231 -246. doi: 10.1037/a0032605.