Counseling Today article on the ongoing debate about the role of evidence-based practice

Counseling Today article on the ongoing debate about the role of evidence-based practice

On a professional listserv, I learned an esteemed colleague Trent Codd, Ed.S, was quoted in a recent article called “Proof Positive” published in Counseling Today, a core publication for the American Counseling Association. Trent is the founder of the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Center of Western North Carolina in Asheville, NC. I see Trent at conferences and am part of a committee he chairs for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He also interviews top notch professionals in his podcast at He’s a busy guy!

The topic of the article is the role research should play in the counseling profession. This is an often contentious issues that’s been brewing for decades. It’s grown more heated as various agencies are increasingly pushing for treatments with significant research support.

I have a great deal of respect for Trent and was impressed with his willingness to confront difficult issues in a direct and tactful manner. For example, Trent cautions that lack of awareness about research can result in therapists using ineffective and even harmful treatments with clients. He uses Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) as an example of a widely used treatment that may actually hinder recovery from trauma but is used by therapists who may be unaware of the research. (If you’re interested, I wrote a blog post summarizing the research literature on CISD for the blog Psychotherapy Brown Bag.)

Of this problematic divide between research and practice, Trent says:

“I wish I knew what to recommend to remedy this problem,” he says. “This is something that I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about over the years. I think the only thing that will make a difference is a change in the professional counseling culture. The bottom line is that we, as a profession, are going to have to agree that this is important. Unless that happens, I don’t think much change is going to occur.”

The tension between people who believe psychotherapists should be more bound to empirical evidence and those who want to be free to practice however they want is an issue that boils over in professional listservs and publications from time-to-time. I think this recent article is a good encapsulation of both sides of the debate. You read it for yourself here.