What is Evidence-Based Practice?

Entering the realm of therapy can be both an enlightening and overwhelming experience, especially for those unfamiliar with its specific terms and nuances. One term that frequently pops up in the therapeutic landscape is "evidence-based practice." But what does this mean, and why is it crucial for those seeking therapy? In this post, we'll demystify this seemingly vague concept. 
Understanding Evidence-Based Practice
At its core, evidence-based practice (EBP) is an approach used across various professions, including psychology, medicine, and social work. In the context of therapy, it involves: 
Evidence: Drawing from research studies and clinical trials to understand which interventions and strategies have been proven to be effective. A significant amount of research is required to  hit this standard, though EBP can be applied in different categories including "modest support" and "strong support" depending on the amount of research undertaken. 
Clinical Expertise: While the therapist's professional judgment and experience play a role in tailoring the evidence-based interventions to individual client needs, interventions and  modalities have to be confirmed as effective by a wide variety of practitioners in multiple settings to be confirmed as EBPs. 
Client Preferences and Characteristics: Recognizing that each client is unique, EBP respects and integrates individual preferences, culture, and values in the treatment process. Each EBP needs  to be confirmed across varied client presentations.  
When put together, these components ensure that Evidence-Based Practice interventions are both scientifically sound and able to be tailored to a wide-range of individuals. 
Why Evidence-Based Practice Matters in Therapy 
1. Reliable Care: When a therapist uses evidence-based practice, they're drawing from a pool of well-researched and tested interventions. This ensures that you can be confident that the therapeutic techniques have a proven track record of effectiveness. 
2. Tailored Treatment: EBPs recognize that no two individuals are the same. By considering client preferences and characteristics, each therapy is able to be personalized, addressing your  specific needs and goals.
3. Efficient Outcomes: Evidence-based practices are goal-oriented and structured. This framework helps lead to more tangible results in a shorter amount of time. This enhances your  progress and directly relates to number 4 on this list. 
4. Insurance and Coverage Benefits: Given their scientific backing and proven track-records,  many insurance providers favor evidence-based practices. This directly affects you as it often  results in better coverage for these types of therapies. 
5. Confidence in the Process: Your belief in your therapist and the therapy itself is actually a key  driver of therapy outcomes. Knowing that your therapy is grounded in evidence and real-world  results can be reassuring, providing a sense of trust in the therapeutic process. 
Examples of Evidence-Based Practices in Therapy 
Several therapeutic modalities fall under the Evidence-Based Practice umbrella: 
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Widely researched and deemed effective for issues like depression, anxiety, and phobias, CBT focuses on adjusting negative thought patterns and  behaviors. 
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Primarily developed for borderline personality disorder, DBT is now recognized as effective for a variety of concerns, especially those related to  emotional regulation and self-harm. It's also especially effective for tweens, teens, and young adults. 
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT combines mindfulness and emotional acceptance techniques with values-based behavioral interventions designed to get individuals  more fully into their lives. It's been empirically supported for issues as varied as chronic pain,  depression, mixed anxiety, tinnitus-related distress, obsessive-compulsive disorder and  psychosis. 
Prolonged Exposure Therapy: This evidence-based practice, tailored for PTSD, assists clients in confronting and processing traumatic memories in a controlled and safe environment. 
Engaging in therapy is a significant step toward well-being and self-discovery, but the jargon can feel overwhelming. When diving into this journey, it's essential to be equipped with knowledge. Evidence-based practice ensures that therapeutic interventions are not only scientifically  validated but also personalized to individual needs. 
While the efficacy of the therapeutic modality is paramount, the therapeutic relationship itself  is equally vital. As you navigate the world of therapy, seek a professional who uses evidence based practices and with whom you feel a genuine connection. To find the right therapist for you, check out the full list of our therapists who utilize a wide variety of evidenced-based practices. Your path to meaningful and lasting change is just a few clicks away.

About Richard Aab

Richard Aab, LCMHCA, has a BFA in Theatre from NYU and received his Clinical Mental Health Counselor, M.Ed. (Master’s in Education) from North Carolina State University. He is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHC-A) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Richard has a deep commitment to working with individuals overcoming developmental and childhood trauma, and he combines cutting-edge, neuroscientific research with traditional existential and behavioral therapeutic modalities. He is supervised by Elizabeth Grady, LCMHCS, and sees adult clients by telehealth.

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