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Changing Paradigms from Empirically Supported Treatment to Evidence-Based Practice: A Cultural Perspective

1 August 2009


Psychotherapy research guidelines have a profound impact on research, training, and practice, and they also influence reimbursement decisions which can have ethical and legal consequences. Furthermore, research guidelines have implications for the treatment of culturally diverse groups. Unfortunately, these implications have often been overlooked. Therefore, this paper contrasts the impact of two prominent research guidelines on the development of culturally sensitive psychotherapies: (1) empirically supported treatments (ESTs) developed in 1995 by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology), and (2) evidence-based practice in psychology (EBPP) developed by the APA (2006) Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice. Although overall we believe that EBPP is more responsive to the needs and characteristics of culturally diverse groups, ESTs also have many strengths. As the cultural implications of research guidelines are better understood, researchers and clinicians will be able to more effectively advance the development of culturally sensitive evidenced-based psychological treatments.


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