It may seem like a no-brainer that psychotherapists and other mental health experts should use the latest evidence to drive their practice. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Several professionals still rely on traditional, dated methods to treat various psychiatric conditions. Given the staggering rate at which mental health disorders are increasing, 13% to be precise, there is a dire need for alternative, more efficacious practices.
What is Evidence-Based Therapy?
Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) refers to treatments that are backed by scientific evidence. It is the integration of a medical professional’s expertise amalgamated with data that is gleaned from systematic investigations and data related to the patient’s culture, preferences, and characteristics. EBT is not only based on the most current data, but also takes a person’s context into account, making it a relevant and up-to-date therapy.
Every mental health patient is different. The idea of EBT is to provide better treatment related to the patient’s individual needs, values and culture. EBT strives to improve and enhance engagement, intervention, and assessment using empirically supported techniques. Evidence-based treatment has existed since the 1980s to encourage the use of effective treatments and medicine instead of redundant or potentially harmful options.
Benefits of Evidence-Based Therapy
There are several advantages of EBT, especially for patients who require a tailor-made approach to overcome mental health challenges.
1. Personalized Treatment
EBT has much higher flexibility in comparison to other treatment methods. It is not only backed by solid scientific, systematic proof but also incorporates any modifications to suit the specific client that their mental health professional deems appropriate. With a combination of the two, you can ensure that the client is getting an effective treatment plan tailored to their needs. This catalyzes the recovery process instead of applying the same old methods for trial and error, as not only every treatment works the same for every client.
2. Science-Backed Evidence
EBT is deemed reliable because mental health providers use the on-hand evidence as their starting framework. Using research-driven data instead of personal opinions increases the chances of treatment success. EBT interventions are built upon peer reviews, case studies, randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and qualitative and quantitative research. As a client, you can rest assured that your practitioner uses tried and tested evidence instead of relying entirely on self-judgment. EBT combines both scientific and local evidence and the professional’s experience and judgment to derive the best outcome.
3. Shared Decision-Making
Collaboration and mutual understanding between patient and practitioner are essential for any mental health treatment to be successful, like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This is why EBT focuses on informed consent and consideration of each client’s unique preferences and experiences. EBT does not demand strict adherence to any particular framework. Instead, EBT stresses on the practitioner’s and patient’s comfort. This increases the chances of client engagement, which are vital factors in any positive treatment outcome.
4. Fosters Life-long Learning
Most traditional treatment methods rely on data collected years, even decades ago. However, the nature of EBT is such that it promotes and fosters ongoing learning. Since EBT relies on scientific knowledge and evidence to implement the best practices, practitioners need to learn and stay up-to-date with the latest research for as long as scientific knowledge accumulates and grows. EBT doesn’t stay stagnant; instead, practitioners will have to note any newer practices that have surpassed dated methods.
5. Promotes Safety and Cost-Effectiveness
The ultimate goal of EBT is to promote safe, healthy, consistent, cost-effective psychotherapies that are then associated with greater effectiveness and accountability. Some practitioners rely less on evidence-based data, which drastically compromises the quality of care provided to clients. EBT encourages practitioners to ignore treatments that produce less than satisfactory results, saving time, money, and resources. Practitioners have evidence to steer clear of potentially harmful treatments, increasing and ensuring patient safety.
Challenges of Evidence-Based Therapy
Despite the several benefits of evidence-based therapy, there are some challenges that need to be addressed in order for us to overcome them or seek alternatives.
1. Reliance On Scientific Research is Difficult
There is no decided standard for determining that specific psychotherapy is evidence-based or empirically supported. Many practices require an unattainable standard to meet the criteria for being called ‘evidence-based.’ In the real world, it can be quite challenging to draw sufficient conclusions from existing data to be used in clinical practice. This problem is exacerbated by limited data to allow any effective interventions.
2. Costly and Time-Consuming
Ongoing learning is one of the primary strengths of EBT. However, this is what can prove challenging as well. Practitioners using EBT need continuing education and remain up-to-date on the latest knowledge. This process takes a significant amount of time, although some may argue that it’s worth it given the benefits it relays to clients. Clinicians also need to have adequate training to apply suitable psychotherapy for each patient. This training, along with other components of EBT, can be quite expensive.
3. Delay in Implementation
Timely research is imperative for EBT to be successful. However, practically, there will inevitably be a lag between the time when the research is conducted and published to the research being implemented in practice. This can compromise the optimal implementation of this method.
When we think of any treatment plan, effectiveness is the first and foremost criteria. As a client, you may be concerned about the cost of the treatment and other things, but the overriding concern would likely be, ‘does this work?’
Evidence-Based Therapy is hinged on increased quality of treatment and increased accountability, both of which are linked to higher effectiveness. This is why many clients feel better receiving treatment backed by scientific evidence. If you have any psychiatric disorders, you can look for therapy centers near me. The right mental health treatment center will offer evidence-based therapies that will ensure that you get a psychiatric treatment plan that is not only proven to be effective, but is tailored to your particular circumstances as well.