Three articles have been published recently that provide sobering perspectives on the limits of research in support of what we do.
Courtesy of James Wojcik, Ph.D., L.P., Director of Training at Canvas Health, discussing the theme “evidence-based practice is harder than it looks”:
“Here are two articles that give some perspective on this. The first one describes the limits on the research we rely on in the psychotherapy business to shape how we develop our skills. While we don’t have the biasing force of big money that medicine does, our own philosophical biases have their own power to make error.
This next one is long but interesting, reflecting how various medical practices (and of course the same can happen to mental health care) rely on old information and discredited research to shape provider behavior. As you read it consider how the current shift toward deregulation of business and medicine may mean a new era of buyer beware.
Thanks to Jim for sharing these links and his take on them.
From the prolific psychology posting service provided by Ken Pope, Ph.D., “Does psychotherapy work? An umbrella review of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials,” published on 2-27-17 by Acta Psychiatrica Scandinaviaca. This is a review of 173 “eligible” studies (apparently with adequate research design and statistical analysis), with sobering findings. To cut to the chase, the authors conclude, “Although almost 80% meta-analyses reported a nominally statistically significant finding favouring psychotherapy, only a few meta-analyses provided convincing evidence without biases.” And:
Only 16 (7%) provided convincing evidence that psychotherapy is effective. These pertained to cognitive behavioural therapy (n = 6), meditation therapy (n = 1), cognitive remediation (n = 1), counselling (n = 1) and mixed types of psychotherapies (n = 7). (emphasis added).
hhconcierge’s take: It is helpful to get periodic reminders that what we do does not have a high level of research support, and may often be “more art than science.”