What is Evidence-based psychotherapy?

What is psychotherapy?

A lot of times we mention ‘psychotherapy’, people will associate it with the following scenario: someone lying down on a sofa, ‘chatting’ with the psychologist next to him – but is this ‘psychotherapy’? Is ‘psychotherapy’ really as simple as ‘chatting’? We would ‘chat’ with our friends and families too, but how come these ‘chatting’ do not bring in ‘therapeutic’ and ‘healing’ effects?

Indeed, meeting with a clinical psychologist is as relaxing as talking to a friend. However, the difference is that clinical psychologists have received professional training. They could understand your situation through conversing, and use ‘Evidence-based Treatment’ to assist you in improving cognitive, emotional, and behavioural problems, allowing you to face emotional distress efficiently as well as improving your quality of life.

What is Evidence-based Treatment?

Evidence-based psychotherapy is the basis of modern clinical psychology. Clinical psychologists will provide and select the most effective and suitable solution for those suffering from emotional distress, based on empirical evidence and clinical judgements.

Clinical evidence is generally based on the guidelines of international psychological associations (e.g., NICE in the UK, APA in the US, APS in Australia etc.). The decision of the most ‘effective’ therapy is made through multi-level research on the analysis of efficiency and efficacy of treatments. Evidence-based treatment allows us to be sure that the outcome of the therapy comes from the effectiveness of the therapy itself, and not due to factors such as time or luck. One of the most well-known evidence-based treatments is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Let me give you a spoiler, for the next few months, we will be introducing various evidence-based psychological treatments here regularly. Stay tuned!

Text: Clinical Psychologist Yeung Tsui Yee, Clinical Psychologist in training Chui Wai Pong