Evidence-Based Treatments

A Commitment to Proven Practices

Most people have questions when they are thinking about beginning or returning to psychotherapy. You might wonder, “Will it work?” or “Is one kind of therapy more effective than another?” In the field of psychology, we ask similar questions. The result of asking such questions is an improved understanding of what the best research evidence identifies as effective treatments for a variety of mental health concerns. Use of treatments based on sound science is referred to as evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice in psychology represents “the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise” (American Psychological Association, 2006).

When searching for a psychologist, therapist, or counselor, it is common for people to select a provider who has availability in their schedule, offers a desirable fee, or is covered by their insurance. While these are important considerations, it is also essential to ask about the type of treatment a prospective psychologist, therapist, or counselor will offer.

Not all treatments are equivalent with respect to their effectiveness. Some therapies work better than others. Selecting a psychologist, therapist, or counselor who provides treatment based on the best available research evidence can positively impact the extent to which you benefit from therapy.

Studying Safety and Performance

Pharmaceutical companies must demonstrate that the medications they produce and market are safe and effective. They do this by conducting research, often via a series of clinical trials.

Similarly, psychological science also carries out research to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. In general, the scientific community will consider the number of research studies, the quality of those studies, and whether experts agree that a treatment works when determining if an intervention is evidence-based. Confidence in the effectiveness of a treatment grows when multiples studies are completed and the outcome of each those studies consistently suggests the treatment works. Evidence-based treatments are considered best practice and are typically a preferred treatment approach. Some insurance companies will only reimburse for evidence-based therapy.

This video, produced by the National Center for PTSD, can be helpful in better understanding evidence-based practice and the benefits of selecting a provider experienced in their delivery.

Matching Treatments to Symptoms

Treatments tend to be identified as evidence-based for specific problems. For example, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based treatment for anxietydepression, and chronic pain. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Prolonged Exposure (PE) are evidenced-based treatments for trauma/PTSD.

If you are considering working with a psychologist, therapist, or counselor to address anxietydepressiontrauma/PTSD, or other mental health concerns, be sure to ask if your provider is committed to evidence-based practice and experienced in the delivery of evidence-based treatment.

A commitment to evidence-based practice is central to my work as a psychologist. As an experienced psychologist, I use evidence-based practices when treating mental health concerns.

If you are interested in working with a psychologist using treatments we know work, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together.