The importance of evidence-based practice (EBPP) in psychology is the topic of many disputes. Numerous scientists insist that combining the theoretical evidence acquired in the result of researches conducted in diverse control groups with practical treatment interventions will help the psychologists and other professionals in the mental health sphere get better outcomes in curing their patients. This paper evaluates the research on the EBPP conducted by the APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice. Thus, the paper is aimed at summarizing the key points of the article, defining the strengths in the organization of the research, topics covered, and evidence provided, and determining the weaknesses and limitations of the study.
APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice (2006) defines evidence-based practice in psychology (EBPP) as “the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture, and preferences” (p. 273). In other words, EBPP is the combination of theoretical and practical findings, aimed at achieving the highest results in the treatment of mental disorders. The EBPP has three main components: the best available research, clinical expertise, as well as patient characteristics, culture, and preferences. The best available research is the evidence acquired as the result of evaluation of different clinical problems, intervention strategies, and patient characteristics with the help of laboratory tests and other methods of data analysis in the field of psychology and other related spheres (APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 274). Thus, the APA Presidential Task Force (2006) evaluates multiple types of research evidence that can be used in psychology. Clinical expertise is regarded as the competence acquired by mental health professionals through education, different pieces of training, and the experience they gain. This competence can be referred to as clinical expertise when it results in effective practice (APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 275). In terms of clinical expertise, the authors of the article determine many components, such as clinical decision-making, interpersonal expertise, treatment implementation, and many others. Patient characteristics, culture, and preferences are an important component of EBPP. This component refers to evaluation of the patient’s beliefs, values, goals, worldviews, and preferences that will serve for helping the psychologist to choose that treatment option which is the most appropriate to this patient if to follow the clinician’s experience and available research (APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 278).
The article has many strong points since it succeeds in covering the subject and describing its peculiarities. The first strength is that the article is written by a group of authors. Working together, they, probably, discussed all the dubious issues and provided their individual opinions on the aspects covered in the research. Moreover, for this very reason, the article was reviewed by more scientists than other articles usually are. Second, the authors briefly introduce the establishment of evidence-based practice in psychology. Comparing the effectiveness of psychological treatments to the pharmacological ones, APA Presidential Task Force (2006) states that at the time of those discussions, the evidence-based practice in psychology proved to be valuable since it compared the findings of the significance of both methods of treatment. The treatment prescribed to the patients on the basis of the evaluation of empirical data was labeled empirically validated/supported treatments (APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 272).
Another good point is making a conclusion at the end of the introduction to the topic. With the help of this technique, the authors generalize all the information they provided earlier and introduce the readers to the most important subject – evidence-based practice in psychology. Moreover, they indicate the major decisions of APA Presidential Task Force on the question of better treatment options – adherence to the integrative approach (connecting science and practice) (APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 272).
One more strong point of the article is the division of the article into focus sections. Following the division, the reader can easily find the part with the definition, description, explanation, or conclusion. This structural approach makes the information given in the research more comprehensible.
Another characteristic that makes the article more scientific, understandable, and accurate is the concise definition of the EBPP. Right after the definition, the purpose of the EBPP is given. This order of information allows the readers to discover the topic step by step, with all things considered. Moreover, the authors of the article provide explanations of the key terms used as in other researches they might have different meanings. Thus, they explain the notions ‘setting’, ‘intervention’, ‘client’, and some others (Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 273).
A very good point in the article is the extensive use of peer-reviewed literature and support of the claims with the examples from credible sources (Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 274). The citation of evidence-based researches makes the information provided in the article more trustworthy. In addition to all other strengths of the article, the research also provides the analysis of different kind of studies, which makes it more comprehensible for a non-professional reader (Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006, p. 274). Since the authors express some future implications regarding the use of EBPP in clinical expertise, the readers can estimate the importance of the research.
The study by Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice does not have as many weaknesses as strengths, however, one may find some inconsistencies and drawbacks in the article organization that make it difficult to fully understand from the first reading. Thus, the research description lacks extensive explanation about the essence of EBPP at the very beginning. The definition provided in the introductory paragraph is not catchy and easy to perceive. For this reason, the readers cannot understand the aim of the research and define its subject straight away. Therefore, they need to continue reading in order to find out what the article is about, even if they are not interested in it. Moreover, the definition is not supported with a sufficient amount of examples that would prove the importance of EBPP for practical use in clinical psychology. The authors of the study provide the definition and examples in the middle of the article, while the reader needs to understand the topic before he or she gets to the middle of the paper. Thus, one can assume that the general introduction to the research does not catch the reader’s attention or make him or her really interested in the subject. The reader can imply the meaning of EBPP, but the actual introductory explanation used to generalize the evidence provided further in the article does not achieve this aim. Although the introductory paragraphs rarely contain any examples, the Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice could have included some in the second paragraph, in order to help the audience get a broader vision of the subject.
The paper is the evaluation of the article on evidence-based practice in psychology. EBPP is defined as the combination of the best available research, clinical expertise, as well as patient characteristics, culture, and preferences. Main strengths of the research are a proper organization and structure, use of peer-reviewed sources to support the claims, extensive explanation of the terms used and the concepts they refer to in the article. Despite the fact that the study has many positive characteristics, one can find some weaknesses in it. Thus, the article has a weak introduction, which does not catch the reader’s attention or introduce the topic in a proper way. To conclude, the research under consideration is a valuable study, which significantly contributes to psychological practice.