What is Evidence-Based Psychotherapy (EBP)?

Evidence-Based Psychotherapy

Evidence-based psychotherapy (EBP) refers to a psychotherapeutic intervention that has been demonstrated by research to be effective in the treatment of one or more mental health issues. Many studies have found that EBPs are more effective than the typical care that people would receive from providers in their community.

What makes EBP distinctive? Most EBPs are based on a well-established theory to explain an aspect of human behavior. Not only does such a theory explain, in part, why a mental health problem has developed, it also provides a clear pathway for intervention. In addition, researchers have attempted to isolate the mechanisms of change in many EBPs, which specify why these treatments work.

The psychologists at the Main Line Center for Evidence-Based Psychotherapy are committed to the delivery of EBPs. Their goal is to help clients understand the psychological basis for why their mental health problem has developed or has worsened, as well as to offer a clear plan for intervention to modify these factors. Psychologists at the Center can also describe expected rates of improvement based on clinical outcome studies and help identify factors that research has shown to affect the course of treatment.

Evidence-based psychotherapists conduct themselves as scientist-practitioners. This means that they use established scientific findings to inform their clinical practice. Psychologists at the Center translate scientific findings to clients in a warm, supportive, and (at times) even humorous manner. In addition, the psychologists at the Center pay close attention to mood ratings and observations of their clients to shape interventions in order to shape customized interventions for each client.

People often ask how long they can expect to be in treatment when they are receiving an EBP. Many courses of EBP that have been evaluated in the research literature are between 12 and 20 sessions. However, protocols evaluated in the research literature are often different than the treatment that is delivered in “real life” outside of a research setting. Providers at the Center have found that many clients, indeed, remain in treatment for 12 to 20 sessions, but that some problems are resolved in fewer than 12 sessions, and that some clients choose to remain in treatment beyond 20 sessions. Clients retain the right to schedule as many or as few sessions as they see fit. Providers at the Center ensure that they are delivering treatment on the basis or principles of EBP regardless of the number of sessions that they deliver for any one client.

The following is a partial list of EBPs that the psychologists at the Center deliver. You can click on the name of each approach to learn a bit more about it. Many of these EBPs are specific approaches within the broader family of cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs), so it might be helpful to read the section on CBT first and then read about the other topics that interest you.