Online: ISSN 1468-9618 Print: ISSN 1367-6539
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Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #15932 for contact hours.
Rebecca Keele, PhD -Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, School of Nursing, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Evidence-based practice of psychology requires practitioners to follow psychological approaches and techniques that are based on the best available research evidence (Sackett, Straus, Richardson, Rosenberg, & Haynes, 2000). There is no evidence to suggest that some therapy approaches work better than other bona fide therapies.  [ not specific enough to verify ] Criteria for empirically supported therapies have been defined by Chambless and Hollon (1998). Accordingly, a therapy is considered "efficacious and specific" if there is evidence from at least two settings that it is superior to a pill or psychological placebo or another bona fide treatment. If there is evidence from two or more settings that the therapy is superior to no treatment it is considered "efficacious". If there is support from one or more studies from just a single setting, the therapy is considered possibly efficacious pending replication. Following these guidelines, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) stands out as having the most empirical support for a wide range of symptoms in adults, adolescents, and children.  The term "evidence-based practice" is not always used in such a rigorous fashion, and many psychologists claim to follow "evidence-based approaches" even when the methods they use do not meet established criteria for "efficacy" (Berke, Rozell, Hogan, Norcross, and Karpiak, 2011). In reality, not all mental health practitioners receive training in evidence-based approaches, and members of the public are often unaware that evidence-based practices exist. However, there is no guarantee that mental health practitioners trained in "evidence-based approaches" are more effective or safer than those trained in other modalities. Consequently, patients do not always receive the most effective, safe, and cost effective treatments available. To improve dissemination of evidence-based practices, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) and the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology ( SCCAP , Division 53 of the American Psychological Association ) maintain updated information on their websites on evidence-based practices in psychology for practitioners and the general public. It should be noted that "evidence-based" is a technical term, and there are many treatments with decades of evidence supporting their efficacy that are not considered "evidence-based."