To some, evidence-based practice in counseling may sound like a dull endeavour, but I assure you that it is anything but boring. In fact, it alters the playing field for both therapists and clients. Imagine a client who seeks counseling from a professional because they are experiencing anxiety. The counselor may wing it and attempt some random strategies they picked up in graduate school, or they could utilize evidence-based practice to pick the most successful therapies based on research and empirical data. Spoiler alert: the latter is the preferred option!
What is evidence-based practice in mental health
So, what is evidence-based practice anyway? Essentially, it’s the idea that counseling interventions should be based on scientific evidence – in other words, we should use counseling techniques that have been shown to be effective through research. This might sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often counselors rely on techniques that haven’t actually been shown to work.
Benefits of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in counseling/therapy
What is the significance of this? One consequence is that the clients might not be receiving the best care available. Imagine going to a doctor who prescribed you a medication that hadn’t been proven to work – you’d be pretty frustrated, right? Counseling follows the same rules. Counseling clients are seeking assistance with some pretty severe problems, and they need to receive care that has undergone extensive testing and been proven to be successful.
Yet, it’s not only about assisting clients; evidence-based practice is crucial for counselors as well. Counselors might feel more assured in their abilities and content with their work when they employ methods that have been proven to be successful. The use of evidence-based practice can also benefit counselors.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “this all sounds great in theory, but what about in practice?” Well, the good news is that there are plenty of evidence-based interventions that have been shown to work in a wide variety of situations. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective for treating anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) has been shown to be effective for treating trauma. And mindfulness-based interventions have been shown to be effective for reducing stress and anxiety.
So, there you have it – evidence-based practice might not sound like the most exciting topic, but it’s actually incredibly important for both clients and counselors.