Scaling Questions

  • Scaling Questions are used to measure progress and growth, especially when exploring a client’s experiences that are not easily observed, such as moods or feelings.
  • A standard method of articulating a scaling question is to ask the client to provide a rating from 0 to 10.
    • For example, “On a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 meaning you have every confidence that this problem can be solved, and 0 meaning no confidence at all, where would you put yourself today?”
  • Scaling Questions are beneficial when utilized more than once, as the 0 to 10 ratings can assist the client in recognizing progress, even if that shift is only from a 3 to a 4 or a 7 to an 8.
  • Follow-up questions related to these shifts would address how the client moved up from one value to the next or what the client can do to move to a more favourable value.
    • For example, . . .
      • “Last session, you rated your confidence at a 3 and this session you rated your confidence at a 4. What happened this week that increased your confidence by that point?”
      • “We previously set a goal to get your confidence up to an 8, and you said you are at a 7. What do you need to do to move up one more number on the scale?”
  • The purpose of scaling questions is to provide the client with a structure for talking about potentially more abstract concepts and help clients focus on how their thoughts and behaviours move them closer toward the changes they desire or the goals they have established.


Take the next several minutes to practice articulating some Scaling Questions, keeping in mind the population you serve, the most common issues you encounter in practice, and how your clients might respond to being asked Scaling Questions.

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