Goals and Goal Based Outcomes (GBOs) is a booklet written by Duncan Law and Jenna Jacob giving ideas on using goals and goals based outmode tools in therapy  – a PDF version of the full document can be downloaded here and PDF copies of the GBO can be downloaded here

Below are extracts from the document:


This is the third revised edition of this booklet: the first edition was published in 2006 as an internal CORC publication, revised in 2011 and published through CAMHS Press. This version has been revised and edited (May 2015) to bring it up to date. We are very pleased to be able to include a section on setting goals when working with children and young people with learning disabilities, by Ro Rossiter and Heather Armstrong (see p.23).

GBOSometimes it is important to know what you don’t want, and where you don’t want to be before you can be clear about what you do want and where you want to get to. From clinical experience, this is often where Children and Young People (CYP) and their families are at the rst appointment with services. With this in mind, let us start by saying what Goal Based Outcomes (GBOs) are not, and then move on to say what they are – a bit like you might do in a session by helping a young person move from knowing what they don’t want towards some idea of where they want to get to in the future:

1. First of all GBOs are not purporting to be anything new: the ideas and techniques on the following pages have been used by therapists, clinicians and practitioners over many years, and in many di erent ways. What we hope to do here is to bring together some useful ideas about goals and goal based outcomes into one place, and o er the chance to share some of the learning of using GBOs. It is intended as a guide for you to pick out ideas that you might want to use – the only manual is the section that relates to using GBOs as part of the Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) protocols to ensure that there is some consistency in the way GBOs are recorded, and the data that is passed on to CORC (see appendix 1). It won’t tell you everything about the subject, but we hope it gives a useful summary for clinicians wishing to use GBOs either as part of CORC, or CYP-IAPT, or more broadly as a tool to work collaboratively with children and young people.

2. GBOs are not a model of therapy, nor do they try to promote any one particular therapeutic modality above another. GBOs can be used with any intervention and any therapeutic modality. GBOs are simply a way of deciding at the beginning of an intervention where you want to head for, and to track progress along the way, or at the end to see how far along your agreed track you have managed to get. They are also a powerful tool to facilitate shared decision making and more personalised care in children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing services. It is true that some therapeutic modalities have goals and the monitoring of goals is already built into the intervention themselves: e.g., Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) and solution focused therapies. Hopefully, any therapeutic process starts with a joint understanding of what the goals of the intervention are (the destination) before the therapy (the vehicle to get you there) begins.

3. GBOs are certainly not making any claims to be the ‘silver bullet’ of outcome measures, they are one way of getting useful information about progress in an intervention. They are best used as part of a battery of outcome measures, in conjunction with sound clinical feedback and judgement, to get the best picture of how well an intervention has gone. They can be shared with the young person to use in supervision; for your own reflective practice, or as evidence of good work for service managers and commissioners.

Although most of the ideas in this document are focused on work with children and young people (CYP) and their families and carers, the ideas can equally be used in adult mental health and other settings.