Evidence Informed Psychotherapy & Counseling
Mental health problems require comprehensive solutions—a variety of intervention approaches directed to multiple opportunities. Evidence-based practice refers to mental and behavioral health treatments that have been researched, supported and validated scientifically. In choosing evidence based treatments, clinicians ensure that their clients will routinely receive effective, research-supported treatments that come with ethical and professional commitments on the part of their therapists.
While it is true that all research studies have some limitations, it cannot be argued that evidence-based treatments aren’t applicable to the “real world” because research is conducted under artificial conditions. Some treatment providers use such excuses to give 'general and vague advice' to their clients and charge them for it, essentially doing whatever they want in the name of psychotherapy.
Before beginning any treatment, clients should ascertain the therapists' qualifications, professional licensure and question whether there is a scientific rationale behind the treatment they are being provided and think critically about its associated risks and benefits. Fringe treatment providers prey on desperation and fear, and deceive clients with numerous unfounded claims.
Unarguably, practice should draw guidance from the very best research. If one provides treatments that lack evidence to support their usefulness in a particular population of clients, one risks wasting clients’ time and money and exposes them to unforeseen treatment errors. However, strictly speaking, evidence- based practice is often used to refer to manualized interventions, often including counseling scripts. Moreover, it implies that a particular intervention is being used exactly as prescribed, to the exact population it was tested for. This is often impractical in psychotherapy. For example, the Matrix Intensive Outpatient Program was designed and tested for those with stimulant use disorders in the United States. However, it is now commonly employed with clients using a variety of other substances as well and in countries other than the United States.
Therefore, at PsyGlobal, we prefer to use the terms evidence- informed or promising practices to describe our interventions. We recognize that the client's voice and the therapist's intuitive understanding of the client are equally important for effective treatment. Well- conceived treatment programmes such as those offered at PsyGlobal aim to strike a balance between these therapeutic factors to facilitate healing.
Evidence Based Practice refers to the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences. - The APA Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice (2006)
◆"Best available research": clinically relevant research, often from basic health science, that will most likely yield accurate, unbiased, and relevant answers to the practice question posed for a particular patient or patient group.
◆ "Clinical expertise": the clinician’s skills and past experiences that promote positive therapeutic outcomes, including conducting assessments, developing diagnostic judgments, making clinical decisions, implementing treatments, monitoring patient progress, using interpersonal expertise, understanding cultural differences, and seeking available resources (e.g., consultation, adjunctive or alternative services) as needed. Integral to clinical expertise is an awareness of the limits of one’s skills that can hamper clinical judgment.
◆ "Patient characteristics, culture, and preferences": the patient’s (or patient group’s) personality, strengths, socio-cultural context, unique concerns, and preferences brought to a clinical encounter that must be integrated into clinical decisions to best serve the patient. Clinical decisions should evolve in collaboration with the patient and in consideration of the probable costs, benefits, and available resources.