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Improving therapist interest in empirically supported treatments

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:00pm
There was a brief but interesting research article this past week on Interesting practitioners in training in empirically supported treatments, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Despite a growing recognition of the importance of empirically supported treatments (otherwise known as evidence-based treatments), not all therapists are aware of these treatments or are willing and able to provide them. A good blog post from the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders explains some of the reasons why.

Of course, all the training in the world isn't useful unless a therapist is interested in receiving that training. Speaking as someone with a research-oriented background, not a clinical one (nor even a psychological one), my first instinct would be to start by showing people the strength of the research base behind the treatment. What this paper found, however, is that most therapists responded more favorably to case studies rather than larger research studies.

Which, when you think about it, does make sense. Most therapists are more oriented towards people than they are towards large research studies (I'm the opposite, which helps explain why I'm not a therapist and never will be). This is neither good nor bad, it's just a general trend I've observed. Furthermore, case studies can provide more practical information in explaining how the therapy is carried out, how the patient responded, and what are some common pitfalls. This isn't to say that case studies should replace large research trials, just that they interest therapists more in empirically supported treatments.

For more information on empirically supported treatments, see both the Psychotherapy Brown Bag blog and this explanation from the American Psychological Association (they have information specifically on empirically supported treatments for eating disorders here ).
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