Give Me Evidence or Give Me Death

| November 12, 2013
myoutcomes feedback informed therapy

The increasing importance of using an Evidence Based Model in psychotherapy

Articles have been written about  various factors that interfere with people obtaining adequate mental healthcare, like lack of insurance coverage for psychotherapy, mis-education by the pharmaceutical industry, lack of public education by the government etc. In short, many people with emotional and behavioural problems are failing to get the much-needed psychological intervention and are, instead, receiving pharmacological treatments that mask the symptoms and do little, if anything, for the underlying problem.

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Brandon A. Gaudiano, an assistant professor in the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, identified another obstacle that psychotherapy faces: its own public image. In other words, Big Pharma, as Professor Gaudiano calls it, and the medical field have successfully created an image of scientific precision in the public mind. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, lacks that image. This has resulted in a decline in people turning to psychotherapy to address psychological problems and an increase in people turning to drugs to take care of their psychological needs.

We know that these images aren’t accurate as nearly three-quarters of a century of research has demonstrated the efficacy of psychotherapy. On the other hand, the image of physical medicine as an error-free discipline is far from truth. As far as pharmaceuticals are concerned, they sometimes have value as a supplement to effective talk therapy, but with only a few exceptions,  it is an error to view them as the treatment of choice.

However, it isn’t a matter of whether these images are accurate or not. What matters is what people believe. And people believe the evidence put before them. What the pharmaceutical industry and the American Medical Association have been presenting over the course of the last century has been an evidence-based model of treatment. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, has been sorely lacking in this area.

It isn’t exactly clear why psychotherapists have historically been so resistant to this sort of approach. Perhaps the idea of using something like “evidence” to measure changes in something ephemeral like the “mind” seems sacrilegious. But the mind expresses itself via behaviour, emotions and cognitions, all of which are measurable and can be influenced to change. Regardless of the “historical psychotherapy,” the psychotherapy of today is moving towards an evidence-based model. It needs to; otherwise it risks becoming marginalized entirely by Gaudiano’s Big Pharma.

Luckily for those psychotherapists who wish to embrace an evidence-based model rather than watch their practice die, MyOutcomes, with its Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS), is available to help. MyOutcomes is a pan-theoretical treatment tool that was born out of the evidence-based model. There is no tool as powerful as MyOutcomes in helping you to demonstrate to those who wish to know that you have the evidence demonstrating that your clients reach their therapeutic goals.

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Category: Private Practice

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