Defining Evidence-Based Treatment and Prevention in Mental Health.
According to the 2005 EBP Task Force Final Report, “evidence-based practice in psychology is the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences.”
In the mental health space, researchers and practitioners consider it best practice to refer to the “3 stools of evidence base” as outlined in Dr. Sackett’s publication. We also defer to the APA’s policy statement on evidence-based practice in psychology.
In the APA policy statement:
“Best research evidence refers to scientific results related to intervention strategies, assessment, clinical problems, and patient populations in laboratory and field settings as well as to clinically relevant results of basic research in psychology and related fields. A sizeable body of evidence drawn from a variety of research designs and methodologies attests to the effectiveness of psychological practices. Generally, evidence derived from clinically relevant research on psychological practices should be based on systematic reviews, reasonable effect sizes, statistical and clinical significance, and a body of supporting evidence. The validity of conclusions from research on interventions is based on a general progression from clinical observation through systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials, while also recognizing gaps and limitations in the existing literature and its applicability to the specific case at hand (APA, 2002). Health policy and practice are also informed by research using a variety of methods in such areas as public health, epidemiology, human development, social relations, and neuroscience.
Researchers and practitioners should join together to ensure that the research available on psychological practice is both clinically relevant and internally valid. It is important not to assume that interventions that have not yet been studied in controlled trials are ineffective. However, widely used psychological practices as well as innovations developed in the field or laboratory should be rigorously evaluated and barriers to conducting this research should be identified and addressed.”
In their 2016 publication, Peterson and colleagues emphasized that all three components of evidence-based practice “are considered essential for providing optimal care in the treatment of [mental health] disorders. However, the extent to which these individual aspects of evidence-based practice are valued among clinicians and researchers is variable, with each of these stool ‘legs’ being neglected at times.”
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