This workshop will explore the current call for evidence-based treatment (EBT) and evidence-based practice in psychotherapy and related fields. The perspectives of different key stakeholders– patients, therapists, government policymakers, corporate payors – will be elucidated, as will attempts to build bridges between these varied constituencies.
Evidence-based practice is often conceptualized as being built on a tripartite foundation: a research base, clinician expertise, and patient values/preferences. However, sometimes these foundations are reduced simply to research, ignoring the other two essential aspects. The arguments for the importance of psychotherapy research will be presented while the current state of research on psychotherapy will be examined to determine whether it is strong enough to support practice.
Special attention will be devoted to the strengths and weaknesses of randomized controlled trials (RCT) which are often viewed as the gold standard for studying psychotherapy. The importance of RCTs as the only research methodology that allows unambiguous assignment will be explained while weaknesses in current applications of this methodology to psychotherapy will be explicated. Alternative research methodologies for the study of psychotherapy outcomes and processes will also be described, also with emphasis on their strengths and weaknesses. These ideas will then be examined as they apply to the American Psychological Association’s current Clinical Practice Guidelines and to psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Finally, we will discuss the state of relations between researchers and practitioners in mental health. Different models of these relations will be described concluding with the presenter’s concept of a researcher-practitioner alliance.
1. – Attendees will be able to describe the perspectives of different stakeholders in the push toward evidence-based treatment.
2. – Attendees will be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of randomized controlled trials as they are currently used in studying psychotherapies.
3. – Attendees will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different models of the relationship between researchers and clinician-practitioners.
Stephen Soldz, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, social activist, and research methodologist. He is a Professor at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and has taught at several other universities in the Boston area. One theme of Dr. Soldz's professional work has been the building of bridges between psychological researchers and practitioners. He coedited (with Leigh McCullough) Reconciling Empirical Knowledge and Clinical Experience: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy (APA Books, 2000). Dr. Soldz is currently a Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) representative to the American Psychological Association Council. He is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, a cofounder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, and an Adviser to Physicians for Human Rights. His social justice work has been featured in media from the New York Times and National Public Radio to radio in South Africa, Jamaica, Switzerland, Ireland, New Zealand, among many others.
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