It seems like a no-brainer that medical and mental health professionals should be using the most current evidence to inform their practice. However, a disappointing number of experts tend to rely on traditional methods rather than the most safe and successful treatment. Evidence-based treatment has been gaining ground to combat practices that may be ineffective and even harmful.
What is evidence-based treatment?
The term “evidence-based treatment” has been around since the 1980s when it was used to inform clinical interventions with recent publications, according to the journal Neurotherapeutics. The American Psychological Association states that evidence-based treatment, or EBT, in the field of psychology is the practice of integrating the most up to date research available with clinical experience and the patient’s individual needs and attributes.
While many understand EBT to be simply based on the most current data, the practice also has a strong focus on taking a person’s context into account. Therapists, counselors, social workers, doctors, psychiatrists and more can all use EBT in their work with patients; using their expertise and their relationship with a patient to provide holistic services.
What is the purpose of evidence-based practice?
The goal of EBT is to promote effective treatment of individuals with mental health disorders. Those who use it in their practice are able to apply current treatments to client preferences, needs, cultures and values. According to the American Psychological Association, the goal of EBT is to use empirically supported methods to enhance assessments, engagement and interventions.
How can evidence-based treatment help me?
There are many pros to receiving EBT. While most treatment frameworks aim to help individuals alleviate symptoms and overcome mental health challenges, evidence-based methods can offer so much more.
The science to back it up: EBT interventions are based on meta-analyses, peer reviewed studies, randomized controlled trials, observations, case studies, ethnographic studies and both qualitative and quantitative research. Much of the research has also been peer-reviewed and studies have been repeated so you can be assured your practitioner is using tried and true evidence.
Personalized treatment: Evidence-based practices offer the best of both worlds – the solid and systematic scientific proof of effective methods, plus the appropriate modifications and accommodations that trained and experienced professionals discern are appropriate. This way, you can be assured of the most effective treatment, while getting services that are catered to your unique situation. EBT is more flexible than many other models of treatment.
Providers are guided by experience: A practitioner who uses EBT is also able to offer services to the best of their abilities because they are not constrained by a restrictive framework. Evidence-based methods ensure comfort and ease for both the patient and the provider because it does not demand strict adherence to a specific structure. The expertise of professionals is not wasted with EBT, but highlighted and enhanced.
Integrative foundation: EBT is a crucial tool when complex cases arise. Unfortunately, research on comorbid conditions and unique patient circumstances are often limited. Mental health professionals use current research as a foundation for embracing complicated cases, and creating treatment plans that address the whole person and not just a single presenting issue.
Encourages on-going learning: the nature of evidence-based modes of practice is that learning must continue as long as research is being conducted. Both patients and professionals can benefit from staying updated on current data. Clients can grow in independence and improve their condition by reading up on new treatments and providers can expand their knowledge base to best assist their clients. EBT also encourages reflection as new evidence arises and impacts individual cases.
Emphasis on effectiveness: with EBT, the most timely, healthy, safe and cost-effective services are encouraged. Mental health treatment is always integrated into people’s real lives, and thus services are best when they account for the things people care about and don’t force them to compromise their values. The most appropriate treatment to alleviate symptoms and decrease the negative effects of mental illness can always be applied with attention to a person’s culture.
Where can I learn more?
If you’re looking to learn about EBT with specific populations, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has an Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center where you can find resources for different patient needs – telehealth, treatment for youth, medication-assisted treatment and more.
Where can I get evidence-based treatment?
At High Focus Centers, rest-assured you’ll get the evidence-based treatment you deserve. Medical and mental health professionals offer compassionate care using the best of their knowledge and the most current science available. Call 800-877-3628 to get EBT for mental health, substance use, disordered eating, trauma and more.