What is Science-Based Psychotherapy?
Science-Based Psychotherapy is focused on educating therapists and the public about the role of science in the practice of psychotherapy.We will blog about topics such as:
1) How to use scientific thinking to inform the practice of psychotherapy
2) Particular psychotherapy methods that have been studied scientifically, and the evidence — either for or against — those models
3) New findings in basic and applied research that might have implications for psychotherapy practice
4) Research relating to training, supervision, professional well-being, and continuing to develop as a psychotherapist.
While psychotherapy is at its heart an interpersonal enterprise, this enterprise is best informed by scientific findings whenever possible. While we believe that the therapeutic relationship is very important for effective psychotherapy, and we strive to have a positive therapeutic relationship with every client we see, we also believe that psychotherapy is best guided by science. Fortunately, the evidence-base for psychotherapy has grown immensely over the last two decades and now we know a lot more about what works in therapy.
The name of our blog was inspired by the writers at Science-Based Medicine. Like them, we believe that good science is the best way to determine whether mental health treatments are safe and effective. This idea has been the core of the evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP)movement. While the EBP movement has been a positive development in many ways and we are supportive of it, we also think that EBP proponents often focus too much on clinical trials as the primary (or sole) source of evidence for whether a mental health intervention is safe and effective. Lists of recognized evidence-based psychotherapies (for example, the APA Division 12 list) are often based solely on outcome research from clinical trials, and other kinds of applied or basic research are little considered. This is not optimal for the progress of science over time or for guiding therapists about what to do in therapy.
All the authors of Science-Based Psychotherapy are researchers, as well as active clinicians, with years of scientific study and clinical practice under our belts.
If you are looking for lists of evidence-based psychotherapies, here are some resources:
- American Psychological Association Division 12 Website on Empirically Supported Treatments
- Evidence-Based Practice for Children and Adolescents (managed by Division 53, American Psychological Association)
- Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice (EBBP)
- National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
- National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP)