“Evidence-based” means that the treatment was studied in multiple research studies with the relevant populations (e.g., adults with depression; military veterans with PTSD). Other important components:
- Large samples: The number of individuals included in the research studies were large enough to stand up statistically and give confidence that the results weren’t just a “fluke” or chance finding.
- Compared against other treatment/placebo: The group who received the treatment in question needs to have been tested against another group who received: an existing established treatment, were waiting on the waitlist, or placebo to ensure that any improvements were the results of the actual treatment itself.
- Peer-reviewed. The research studies should have been “peer-reviewed”; that is, reviewed by colleagues in the field who look at whether the study was carried out appropriately and the conclusions reached by the researchers were justified statistically.
- Consensus: Finally, experts in the field review the research studies in a given area and reach consensus as to the effectiveness of the treatment and that the benefits outweigh any potential harm to the clients.
Evidence-based treatment doesn’t mean a strict step-by-step approach to treatment though! Treatment does not involve just a manual and techniques. Treatment is individualized to each person’s needs, where they’re at, and their desired goals. Treatment, no matter what the treatment is, will ideally incorporate thoughts, emotions, physical reactions, behaviours, relationships, family, and history.