What is Evidence Based Therapy?

“Evidence-Based Therapy (EBT), more broadly referred to as evidence-based practice (EBP), is any therapy that has shown to be effective in peer-reviewed scientific experiments.”

(https://positivepsychology.com/evidence-based-therapy/)

Evidence-based therapies evolve out of psychological theories inspired by ongoing research into the human condition, specifically, for the purpose of this blog, our relationship to our thoughts, behaviours, feelings, values, and the reciprocal relationship of influence between our inner and external world.

For a more in-depth literature review click here: Australian Psychological Society

Evidence-based approaches

There are many types of therapies that can help you with a wide range of mental health and physical conditions.

Here we look at some of the current evidence-based therapies that may be used in their pure singular form or in combination with other evidence-based therapies; in the former the psychologist will specify one form of evidenced based therapy and in the latter a psychologist may be classified as an integrative psychologist or therapist.  See this article in Psychology Today for more information on integrative psychology/therapy.

Our team of Psychologists at Feel Good Psychology & Counselling offer a person centre, integrative approach to therapy allowing for greater flexibility and refinement of the therapeutic approach best suited to the client.

As with all therapies, however, a successful outcome no matter, which evidence-based therapy a practitioner adopts, relies on a good therapeutic, working rapport between a client and their psychologist and this, we believe, is where our team at Feel Good Psychology and Counselling excel.

At Feel Good Psychology & Counselling we do not take offence should a client find they are unable to connect with/build rapport with our psychologists and/or our approach.  We are always happy, considering it as part of our duty of care, to offer clients alternative options that may be available to them in Australia, as we are also committed to their personal development and growth.  It is important that all therapists & psychologists respect a client’s search for that positive rapport with a therapist so that they may feel safe as they begin on their path toward change.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) helps you to understand the relationship between thoughts & behaviour and how each influences the other over time to such a degree that it is often hard to distinguish which came/comes first.  Whilst CBT takes into consideration how you feel, this is not always the focus of CBT; however, often as a client gains greater personal insight into the relationship between their thoughts and behaviours, and so improves their sense of self mastery, they do disclose feeling better in themselves. Feelings are not disregarded in CBT; however, the emphasis is on changing your cognitive (thought) and behavioural patterns that that will contribute to a more positive emotional experience.

CBT is often very structured, involving a commitment from the client to complete the assigned work between sessions using observation sheets as you progress through stages of CBT intervention.  These observations are then reviewed in session. 

CBT is useful for helping you to deal with physical concerns, such as pain management or body dysmorphia, as well as mental health issues.

CBT is very helpful in identifying undermining thoughts that can negatively influence how you perceive yourself, others, the world, your future, etc. 

CBT can increase your awareness of how much we rely on inherited or adopted beliefs and behaviour patterns that seem to keep us locked into a way of life and living that feels stressful, repetitive, dissatisfying, stuck, etc.

CBT can help you identify some of these thought and behaviour patterns and help you modify them in a way that allows you greater psychological flexibility as you begin taking a solution focused approach toward your lifestyle preferences.  Lifestyle preferences do not have to be major changes, it can be as simple as wanting to improve communication, increase self-acceptance, commit to a valued activity such as studying, fitness, socialising more, etc.

CBT can help you identify and work with one or more undermining/self-limiting thought patterns that can contribute to a life of disharmony, discontent, hopelessness, helplessness, stuckness, anguish, anger, defensiveness, etc.

You may have heard of some the terms, such as ‘catastrophic thinking’, ‘black and white thinking’.  Psychology Today offers a brief and concise article on CBT if you would like to read more.

The skills learned during your CBT sessions are skills you can carry into your life beyond your time with you psychologist/therapist and this is what makes CBT an attractive short-term, solution oriented evidence based therapy.  Whilst there are psychologists / therapists offering CBT as their singular therapy, most psychologists will integrate aspects of CBT into their therapeutic approach.

Conditions CBT can help with

No matter your age or your presenting issue, CBT, can provide you with skills and strategies to help you on your path to feeling good.

CBT can help with:

  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety issues including phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety, and generalised anxiety disorder.
  • Relationship challenges
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Gambling problems
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse
  • Stress
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anger
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

As with CBT, ACT is an evidence based therapeutic intervention that focuses on improving and increase a client’s psychological flexibility.  Whilst in ACT thoughts are not ignored as part of the human experience, ACT focuses mindfulness as a core strategy, as well as behaviour changing strategies.

The idea behind ACT is that our issues don’t only come from the painful experiences in our lives. Rather, much of our discomfort comes from struggling against the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts about these experiences.” [ACT versus CBT]

With an emphasis on adopting a mindful approach, ACT can help you gain greater insight into your personal, preferred value system, get clarity upon whether they conflict or line up with your current lifestyle and, where there is incongruence, move toward adopting behaviours and strengthening core beliefs that allow you live more congruent (in greater harmony) with those values. When we are out of sync – not lined up – with our values, we generally don’t feel good and to overcome this we can introduce denial & experiential avoidance as coping strategies  ACT looks at and help you mindfully expose the internalised emotional struggles you may be experiencing that are interfering with your desire to move in a valued direction. See Get out of your Mind and into your Life by Steven Hayes and/or The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris for further reading and insight about ACT.

Conditions ACT has been shown to help with

There are many mental health and physical conditions that ACT can help treat, including:

  • Chronic pain (see workbook: Living beyond your Pain by Joanne Dahl)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Workplace stress
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Mid-life Crises

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing, or MI, is a directive style of therapy with a goal to inspire change by addressing resistance and/or ambivalence regarding change behaviours. Rapport building is an essential component of this approach.

MI is often a core therapeutic approach for clients experiencing addictions and/or behaviours contributing to and/or maintaining physical health issues.  These clients often have insight into how their behaviours and beliefs are contributing to the ongoing addiction or illness; however, find themselves often at the mercy of persistent and seemingly unchangeable habitual pattern that do not serve them well.

MI takes into consideration 5 stages of change, which you can read more about by clicking here: MI & The Stages of Change

Conditions MI can help with

Motivational interviewing can be effective in many ways, such as for:

  • Losing weight
  • Stopping smoking
  • Cancer and diabetes care
  • Substance abuse
  • Taking medication as prescribed.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a targeted therapeutic approach for clients who have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), as well as those clients with severe emotional dysregulation and explosive emotions.

If you have BPD, you probably have trouble keeping your emotions under control and this can negatively affect your relationships. You may also have a distorted sense of self which can manifest in self-harming behaviours or suicidal thoughts.

DBT can help you gain better containment & mastery of your emotions, think more clearly, and behave in ways you would prefer, as well as help you increase your level of self-accept. The skills you learn through DBT have the potential to help you feel good and contribute to a less stressful life.

Conditions DBT can help with

Your therapist may use DBT if you have BPD to treat issues, such as:

  • Strong feelings
  • Impulsive or risky behaviour
  • Poor interpersonal relationships
  • Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • Feelings of self-hate
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe mood swings.

DBT can also help with other mental health issues, including:

  • Problems with drugs or alcohol
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic disorder.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) is suitable for a wide range of clients and can be a very effective therapeutic approach for those clients with a vulnerability toward major depression because of, as well contributing to, relational issues.  IPT focuses is the present, with an emphasis on relieving symptoms by helping you to understand and resolve current interpersonal issues that create friction, unhappiness, disharmony, dissatisfaction, despair, etc., in your life. In its pure form, IPT is very structured; often elements of IPT are integrated with other forms of evidence based therapies.

Conditions IPT can help with

Your therapist may use IPT during an acute phase of major depression. It is also helpful for treating:

  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders such as bipolar
  • Chronic fatigue

As well as

  • Grief and loss
  • Relationship conflict that causes distress and tension
  • Trouble starting and sustaining healthy and satisfying relationships
  • Major life changes such as losing a job or having a child and how it affects how you feel about yourself and the world around you.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

Solution Focused Brief Therapy focuses on your present and future goals and your aspirations rather than on your past. This is a type of therapy that focuses on your goals rather than the issues or symptoms you had that made you seek out therapy. It helps you to identify the tools you need to manage challenges and any mental health symptoms. You may already have the skills to create change in your life; however, you may find you benefit from SFBT as it helps you identify and/or develop those skills.   

Through SFBT, your therapist will pay attention to your strengths and resources and how you can leverage these best to affect change. SFBT is often a dynamic and collaborative approach to present and future oriented solutions and many clients enjoy this as it offers them the opportunity to focus forward rather than backward.

Conditions SFBT has been shown to help with

SFBT can treat a range of mental health issues, such as:

  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Gambling addiction
  • Depression’
  • Problems in relationships
  • Behavioural issues
  • Substance abuse.

Collaboration is key with SFBT; therefore, a good working rapport with your psychologist is highly recommended.

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing Therapy

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) can help relief from both chronic and acute trauma memories. Click here to learn more: EMDR

Conditions EMDR can help with

EMDR can help any one from children to older age groups.

The most common use of EMDR is for treating the traumatic memories of PTSD. But therapists are also using it to treat:

  • Dissociative disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Depression disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Trauma disorders.

The EMDR approach

Across multiple of sessions you choose a traumatic memory to reprocess, usually one that triggers symptoms often associated with PTS(D) causing significant distress. While you relive the traumatic event, your therapist will get you to focus on how you feel and your thoughts. While you are doing this, you will rapidly move your eyes from left to right. Your therapist may even guide you in some way such as using their hand or audible taps for you to follow. Over time you may replace the fear and shame caused by the trauma, for example, with feelings of empowerment and strength.

Conclusion

Today therapists use a wide variety of therapies. Psychological Theories continue to evolve.  New understandings and refinements of psychological theories and therapies build on the old.  The Science of the Mind continues to evolve. It is no longer one size fits all.

Psychologists usually have both training and professional interest in a diverse range of therapeutic approaches, as they seek to offer a client-centred/client-tailored approach to therapy. 

It is true, that some therapists choose to become specialists in one approach, such as ACT or CBT or DBT, and others engage in multiple trainings and so move toward an integrated therapeutic approach.  Either way, psychology advocates a client-centred approach knowing that flexibility and the therapeutic rapport are of prime importance, no matter the evidence based therapy a psychologist adopts and then offers to his or her client.

With the internet and access to a broader & deeper knowledge base, clients often come with a basic understanding of the relationship between thought-behaviour-emotions and both childhood & social conditioning, as well as current influences, preferred values & beliefs, as well as growing clarity about what they want from therapy.  

At Feel Good Psychology & Counselling, we meet the client where they are at; we respect their preferences; we respect their intelligence, personal wisdom and level of knowledge; we use discernment and good listening to gain clarity on best approach for any presenting client; we refrain from capturing our clients where we are not a good fit for them or their presenting needs not a good fit for our level of experience or training; we are happy to refer a client on to someone more suitable if we feel we cannot meet a client’s specific therapeutic needs and/or preferences. We are a team of professional, personable, client centre, solution focused, integrated psychologists keen to assist within the limitations of our professional capacity.

 

Feel Good Psychology & Counselling

Feel Good Psychology & Counselling offers you an affordable, 100% bulk billed, telehealth counselling service. Feel Good Psychology & Counselling has a growing team of Feel Good High Quality Psychologists committed to a no-fee service for clients with a Mental Health Treatment Plan seeking Bulk Billed Medicare Psychology Sessions. For clients without a Mental Health Treatment Plan, our committed team of Feel Good Psychologist offer one of the lowest rates available for quality psychological services in Australia.

Why not browse our website and Contact us today to discover how we can help you begin improving your life and your future!

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