EBP in Counseling Research Paper






Evidence-Based Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy
Angel M. Perez
Liberty University
Counselor Professional Identity, Function, & Ethics
COUN501
Dr. Natika McNeil
06 July 2013


Abstract
Psychology, in its beginnings, was regarded more as a pseudoscience. Psychology was not considered a science, but a branch of philosophy until the late 1870’s. In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt opened the first experimental laboratory in psychology at a university in Germany. Wundt is credited with launching psychology as an academic discipline. The first manual of experimental psychology was published in 1901. After more than a century since psychology was recognized as a science, only in recent years have professionals in the field begun to recognize the importance of evidence-based practice in counseling and psychotherapy. This paper discusses the importance of evidence-based practice regarding counseling and psychotherapy, and empirically supported data bridging the gap between science and religion in relation to psychology. Several key themes linked to evidence-based psychology are described. Relevant legal and ethical issues related to evidence-based practice are discussed. This paper examines biblical values and provides insight related to evidence-based practice in counseling. The author shares his personal perspective on the subject matter and his commitment to provide Scripture founded, ethical, and empirically based counseling services as a psychologist.









Evidence-Based Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy
Evidence-based practice (EBP) of counseling and psychotherapy bears significant importance to both the counselor and the client. Currently there is no single official definition for EBP, but each of the definitions found documented by a variety of organizations and institutions closely resemble one another. The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines EBP as, “Applying the best available research results (evidence) when making decisions about health care” (http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/glossary-of terms/?pageaction=showterm&termid=24). Psychology professionals who practice evidence-based counseling and psychotherapy use empirical data, expertise and client preferences. The APA Presidential Task Force (2006) states: “Evidence-based practice in psychology (EBPP) is the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences” (http://www.apa.org/practice/resources/evidence/evidence-based-report.pdf, p. 273). The focus of the EBPP begins with the client and inquires “what research evidence will assist the counselor in achieving the best outcome” for the client (2006, p. 273). The EBPP endeavors to advocate “effective psychological practice and enhance public health by applying empirically supported principles of psychological assessments, case formation, therapeutic relationship and intervention” (http://www.apa.org/practice/resources/evidence/evidence-based-report.pdf, p. 280). EBPP proposes to improve the transport of services to clients within an atmosphere of reciprocated respect, unrestricted communication, and collaboration among all participants, including researchers (2006, p. 281). The elements of EBP consist of best research evidence, clinician’s experience, the client’s values and preferences. Therefore, by definition, EBP bears significant importance to both the clinician and the client because of its potential to ensure and enhance patient care. Spring, B. (2007) supports this observation.
This paper accentuates the fact that, despite the noble intentions associated with the EBP, there are those that express opposition. Norcross, J. C. et al. (2008) states: "It remains unclear and controversial whether EBP's perform reliably better than practices not designated as evidence-based" (p. 11). Norcross and his colleagues (2006) also express concern regarding EBP and third-party payers. Norcross and his colleagues caution that the implementation of evidence-based practices has the potential for unethical practices by third-party payers. Third-party payers could selectively use research findings to control cost measures verses improve the quality of services delivered. Corey, G. et al. (2011) states: “Practitioners who work in managed care programs must balance client care with the restrictions imposed by the program” (p.446). Restrictions imposed by the program do not always serve to produce a successful outcome.
This paper examines relevant legal and ethical issues related to evidence-based practice, as well as biblical values and provides insight related to evidence-based practice in counseling. A personal perspective on the subject matter and commitment to provide Scripture founded, ethical, and empirically based counseling services as a psychologist are shared. Elements relevant to EBP are briefly discussed. This paper proposes to communicate the importance of EBP to the practitioner and the client by discussing a number of facets pertinent to EBP.
Facets
Training
One crucial aspect regarding EBP is training (Collins, F. L. et al., 2007). Few psychology professionals receive appropriate training in evidence-based approaches. Many practitioners are also ignorant to resources regarding EBP