Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) response --
An excerpt from their newsletter
American Psychological Association
Division of Counseling Psychology
Division 17 Newsletter
Volume XVII, Number 2 March 1996
Empirically validated treatments in Counseling Psychology
In 1995, a subgroup within Division 12 (Clinical Psychology) distributed
a Task Force Report on the Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological
Procedures. The report included a (partial) listing of empirically
validated psychological intervention procedures, as well as the criteria
by which interventions were evaluated. The report has come under
considerable scrutiny and criticism--some arguing that the list of
empirically validated treatments is woefully incomplete, others arguing
that the criteria that were used to identify empirically validated
treatments were too narrow.
The issues that led to Division 12's creation of a task force to develop
criteria for identifying empirically validated interventions and to
identify such interventions also confront Counseling Psychology and it is
appropriate for our specialty to ask: (a) what psychological interventions
do counsel-ing psychologists use that have been empirically validated?
and (b) by what criteria do we evaluate them?
These two questions are the impetus for a project undertaken this year by
the Division's Science Directorate. The first step is to define the
criteria that should be used in evaluating interventions as "empirically
validated." In this, the Division needs your help.
The criteria (judged "too narrow" by some) that were developed and used by
the Division 12 Task Force are given below. They may be useful to consider
when reflecting upon criteria that we should use in evaluating our treat-
ments. (NOTE: A distinction was made between "well-established treatments"
and "probably efficacious treatments").
Criteria for well-established treatments:
I. At least two good group design studies, conducted by different
investigators, demonstrating efficacy in one or more of the following
a. Superior to pill or psychological placebo or to another treatment. i
b. Equivalent to an already established treatment in studies with
adequate statistical power (about 30 per group)
II. A large series of single case design studies demonstrating
efficacy. These studies must:
a. Use good experimental designs and
b. Compare the intervention to other treatments as in I.a.
III. Studies must be conducted with treatment manuals.
IV. Characteristics of the client samples must be clearly specified.
Criteria for probably efficacious treatments:
I. Two studies showing the treatment is more effective than a control
II. Two studies otherwise meeting the "well-established treatment"
Criteria I, III, and IV, but are conducted by the same investigator; or
one good study demonstrating effectiveness by these same criteria.
III. At least two good studies demonstrating effectiveness but flawed by
heterogeneity of the client samples.
IV. A small series of single case design studies otherwise meeting the
"well-established treatment" Criteria II, III, and IV.
We are interested in your views on what criteria we should use in
determining whether a particular counseling intervention has been
"empirically validated" (i.e., is well-established or is "probably
efficacious"). We would also welcome "nominations" for "empirically
validated treatments" which may be considered against the criteria that
are eventually established. We are interested in hearing from
practitioners, researchers (quantitative and qualitative), Division
members and students.
Please send your comments/responses to:
Dept. of Counseling Psychology
University of Kansas,
116 Bailey Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045-2336.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.