Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Are psychiatrists more evidence-based than psychologists?
Henry A. Nasrallah, MD
A recent psychology journal article lambasted clinical psychologists for not using evidence-based psychotherapeutic modalities when treating their patients. The authors pointed out that many psychologists were ignoring efficacious and cost-effective psychotherapy interventions or using approaches that lack sufficient evidence.
An accompanying editorial was equally scathing—calling the disconnect between clinical psychology practice and advances in psychological science “an unconscionable embarrassment”—and warned that the profession “will increasingly discredit and marginalize itself” if it persists in neglecting evidence-based practices. The author quoted the respected late psychologist Paul Meehl as saying “most clinical psychologists select their methods like kids make choices in a candy store” and added that the comment is heart-breaking because it is true. A Newsweek column—“Ignoring the evidence: Why do psychologists reject science?”—elicited little agreement and mostly howls of protest from psychologists.
So, are psychiatrists more evidence-based than psychologists?
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