Sunday, March 22, 2015

Existential Therapy is Evidence Based Practice

Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology is the current dominant paradigm for evaluating psychotherapy practice. At best, its aim is to help assure that therapists develop and utilize the appropriate clinical skills and employ strategies to help clients that are rooted in evidence, broadly understood. This replaces, though is often confused with, the previous paradigm of the empirically supported treatments, which sought to determine which rigidly applied modalities were appropriate for psychotherapy with particular diagnoses or problems based upon a more narrowly defined type of evidence.
While existential therapy is often criticized for lacking evidence based support for its practice, the article "Emotion, Relationship, and Meaning as Core Existential Practice: Evidence-Based Foundations” by Hoffman, Vallejos, Cleare-Hoffman, and Rubin provides strong evidence to help dispel this misconception. Drawing upon the standards of evidence-based practice, the authors utilize recent research and scholarship to demonstrate that when an appropriately trained and skilled therapist utilizes an existential therapy approach, it is consistent with the principles of evidence-based practice in psychology. This article should prove useful for existential therapists advocating for this approach in managed care and other settings that sometimes discourage its use with clients.
The article identifies how existential therapy's relational focus, emphasis on working with emotion and experience, and meaning-centered approach is an empirically valid approach to working therapeutically with a wide variety of clinical issues.
-- Louis Hoffman, Ph.D.

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