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Evidence-Based Treatments - What Are They?

Imagine this scenario: You think it might help to get some counselling and so you ask your GP, who writes a referral for you, you leave the office, and then what? Getting mental health support is rarely as straight forward as it might seem, and it can be confusing to consider what TYPE of treatment is right for you, in addition to WHO you see. Generally, an EBT (evidence-based therapy) is a good starting point, but what is it? This blog is all about understanding what EBT really means, and why choosing an EBT is important to know for yourself or someone you care about.

In a nutshell, this means that the treatment has been supported by objective scientific research which shows that it is effective. The standards for research meet certain requirements, making it reliable showing a strong percentage of the population treated would expect to see effective results. This is considered more reliable than hearing what your uncle cousin, or friend tried and assuming the same would work for you. It also allows us to know that it comes from unbiased data, independent of the treating health professional’s opinion (so it's not just your GPs top choice).

When considering how you spend your hard earned money to cover gap fees, and especially how you spend your valuable time and effort in taking steps towards living a rich, full life as you want to live it, an EBT isn’t a requirement, but it certainly can help give you confidence that you aren’t jumping into something without knowing what. What’s more, an approach that has met the stringent requirements of being evidence-based, doesn’t get a free-ride from there on out. It’s much like our own health and mental fitness or like being a world champion athlete – just because they get a medal, doesn’t mean the training stops and there are no more PBs to chase. After gaining that reputation of being strong and effective, these treatments gets continually scrutinised and reviewed to see what can be improved. This means that psychological interventions like ACT and CBT are continually being looked at and challenged against other approaches (new and old) for improvements from their already strong baseline.

Each of these therapies has a wealth of research behind them, supporting their efficacy. In fact, ACT has seen more quality research in a historically shorter amount of time than any other therapeutic approach in mental health to date. Of course, there is no one cap fits all, and one of the best things about ACT is that it’s open to incorporating what works from other approaches. For some of the basics in comparing ACT and CBT, how they can help, and some things to ask when choosing a mental health professional, see our upcoming blog on "The ABCs of ACT and CBT", or get in touch with us here.

*Quick Acronym Reference:

ACT = Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Training

CBT = Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or Treatment

DBT = Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

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