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Working with goals and the Goals Based Outcome (GBO) tool to enhance clinical care

Duncan Law

25 Jun 2024


Understanding what our clients want and hope for from therapy (or any other clinical intervention) is a fundamental part of good clinical care. Working with goals is a deceptively simple therapeutic process that helps us begin to understand our clients’ perspective on the aims of a clinical intervention. This workshop will take a practical and pragmatic look at the real-life clinical complexities of working with goals across a range of therapeutic settings and look at the impact of trauma in goal setting.

The event will be equivalent to 2 hrs of CPD.


• The workshop will look at where working with goals fits with broader therapeutic practices and the therapeutic value of shared decision-making and collaborative practice.
• It will explore the value of establishing collaborative therapeutic goals.
• The workshop will cover both the ‘task’ and ‘process’ of working with goals.
• It will take a particular focus on the impact of trauma and the process of working with goals.
• Lastly, it will look at how tools such as the Goal Based Outcome (GBO) tool, might help to enhance clinical practice.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives of this workshop are for participants to:
• Have a better understanding of the value of setting collaborative, therapeutic goals with their clients.
• Increase their understanding of the complex and sophisticated clinical skills needed to establish a good therapeutic process where goals can be discussed.
• Have a better perspective on the task of setting collaborative goals.
• Understand the role trauma plays in working with goals
• Be reminded of the value of using the Goal Based Outcome (GBO) tool - one of the mostly widely used tools across adult cha child mental health services - to help facilitate collaborative, goalsetting and collaboratively track progress in therapeutic interventions.

Training Modalities

This workshop will be largely didactic. However, throughout the workshop, questions will be posed to participants to invite them to reflect on their own practice and relationship to working with goals. The chat function will be used to share feedback and experiences from the group.

Key References

1. Cooper, M. & Law, D. (2018) ‘Working with goals in psychotherapy and counselling’ Oxford University Press. This book covers the therapy, philosophy and clinical practice of working with goals across a range of setting and therapeutic modalities.

2. Goals in therapy website The website dedicated to all aspects of working with goals. The official host to the GBO tool, with links all current translations, guidance, training videos and projects including the accessible goals project.

3. Law, D. (2019) The Goal-Based Outcome (GBO) Tool: Guidance Notes. MindMonkey Associates.

4. Law, D. (2022). Working with goals and trauma in youth mental health. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(17), 11048.

About the presenter

Duncan is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, with over 30-years experience working in mental health and wellbeing across the NHS, social care, higher education, and charitable sectors. He is Visiting Professor in the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, in the Faculty of Brain Science, University College London. He is Director of MindMonkey Associates, and is a consultant to Changing Minds. As well as providing mental well-being strategy, consultation, mentoring, supervision, research, and training cross a range of UK and international settings, he is practicing clinician working across youth and adult mental health settings. Formerly, he was Joint-Programme Director ‘Leading Transformation and Change’ at the Anna Freud Centre.
He is the developer of the goals-based outcomes (GBO) tool (see which is now used extensively across child and adult mental health service in the UK, Europe, Australia, Asia and North America, and has been translated into 10 languages. He has consulted widely in the UK and internationally on the implementation of working with goals. Above all his focus is on the effective application of complex psychological ideas in ways that make then accessible and acceptable, to enrich and enhance lives.

Who should attend

This workshop takes a whole lifespan, multidisciplinary, and cross modality perspective. It is suitable for any practitioner who works directly with adults, young people, or older adults with mental health challenges. These ideas can be applied across primary care, specialist services through to inpatient settings. It is suitable for low and high intensity practitioners, clinical and counselling psychologists, nurse therapists, counsellors, psychotherapists, art and media therapists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, and social workers.

Low Intensity clinical contact hours survey - BABCP Low Intensity Special Interest Group

Please click below if you are interested in contributing to the survey.


The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

View Survey

This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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