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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most efficacious and effective psychological intervention for treating anxiety disorders. Behavioural techniques, in particular exposure-based techniques, are fundamental to positive outcomes. However, research suggests that these techniques are either not used or are under-used when treating anxiety disorders. This study assesses therapists’ reported use of CBT techniques in the treatment of anxiety disorders, and explores which therapist variables influence technique use. A total of 173 CBT therapists completed measures on their demographics, routine therapy practices in treating anxiety disorders, and internal states (e.g. self-esteem). These data were analysed to see how often therapists employed particular techniques and the correlates of the use of those techniques. Behavioural techniques (e.g. exposure) were the least utilized set of core CBT skills, being used less often than non-CBT techniques. The under-utilization of these key techniques was associated with greater levels of increased inhibitory anxiety amongst therapists. Supervision and therapists’ self-esteem were both positively associated with the use of non-CBT techniques. While this study established what CBT therapists purport to use in routine practice with anxious populations, further research is needed to assess the association between adherence (or lack thereof) and client outcomes, and the factors that drive non-adherence.
Key learning aims
As a result of reading this paper, the reader should:
(1)Learn about what psychotherapists report as occurring in routine care for individuals with anxiety and related disorders.
(2)Know the potential therapist traits that influence the use of CBT techniques.
(3)Gain knowledge to help explain to clients why previous therapy may not have been effective.
(4)Develop a richer understanding of what factors may influence their own therapeutic practice.
Many psychological therapies help clients to direct and sustain their awareness onto specific aspects of their problems to promote change. Yet, no theory-driven measure exists that can code moment-by-moment changes in awareness during a therapy session. It is known that awareness plays a crucial role in the process of change, but little is known about the underlying core processes. Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) offers a scientific explanation of psychological distress as loss of control and describes the role of awareness in processes responsible for restoring control by resolving any internal conflict. The Depth and Duration of Awareness Coding Scheme (D-DACS) was previously developed to capture the person’s current focus of awareness and its duration on the areas that from a PCT point of view are desirable in order to facilitate effective psychological change. The current research applies D-DACS to code three publicly available Method of Levels (MOL) therapy sessions delivered by an expert therapist and presents a visual representation of the client’s presumed attention in these sessions. The results showed that an average of 61.65% of the client’s attention was focused on the D-DACS areas, which is higher than the previous studies involving novel therapists. The produced visual representation of the clients’ presumed attention helps to examine the utility of this new coding scheme and further examine the validity of the underlying theory. Such work might help in examining effectiveness of therapy in meeting the underlying theoretical foundations of change. However, limitations and areas for improvement are also evident.
Key learning aims
(1)To provide a rationale for the use of observer-rated measures of within-session processes involved in therapeutic change.
(2)To describe the desired focus of the client’s awareness in order to facilitate effective psychological change as described by Perceptual Control Theory.
(3)To use an earlier validated scheme to code the depth and duration of awareness of three clients in best practice videos of Method of Levels psychotherapy.
(4)To present and test the feasibility of a visual representation of moment-to-moment changes in a client’s awareness in a therapy session.
Consultation with children is a delicate art, and consultation with vulnerable children, even more so. Experienced clinicians believe best practice in undertaking such work requires tertiary studies in social work or psychology combined with extensive supervised clinical experience. The current pathways to becoming a children’s lawyer in the Northern Territory do not involve mandatory training in child well-being, and yet lawyers are asked to consult with highly traumatised children and bring the voices of children into the courtroom. Lawyers for young children are additionally required to provide an opinion as to what they believe to be in the best interests of the child, without a social work or psychology-based qualification, training or in-depth guidelines to support their position. This article looks at what the law says about child consultation, what child development research says about child consultation and child consultation in practice in a Northern Territory child protection setting. At its conclusion, the author discusses potential pathways forward for lawyers and clinicians to work together in safe practices of child consultation.
This paper is clinical practice-based, and examines the Greek cultural linguistic schema of Politeness Plural in the application of the Schema Therapy mode model. The philosophical principles of Schema Therapy and the importance the model ascribes on creating a warm therapist–client relationship as a pre-requisite for schema healing are discussed. We further explore the need for the therapist to be culturally sensitive to the linguistic use of Politeness Plural in Greek-speaking populations. We are looking into the reasons of why, whilst culturally sensitive, a schema therapist needs to remain inquisitive of potential maladaptive and/or internalized dysfunctional coping mechanisms of inter-relating that are masked by the use of the Politeness Plural linguistic schema. The implications the cultural linguistic schema of Politeness Plural can have in the therapy outcome are considered. Specifically, we argue that holding on to the Politeness Plural cultural linguistic schema may reinforce emotional distancing and compromise schema healing. The authors identify the need for more research to further understand the issues that are raised in this article. Although the focus of the article is on Greek populations, the matters under consideration may be valuable to other cultures.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in its current form might not be applicable in non-Western cultures. Differences between Western and non-Western cultures have been reported widely. Most psychotherapeutic interventions have been developed in the West and are underpinned by the values that might be specific only to Western culture. To adapt CBT, we need to understand whether the concepts associated with CBT may conflict with cultural beliefs, identifying barriers to the success of the therapy using the views of experts by experience, public and practitioners. This paper discusses the process, foci and framework of cultural adaptation of CBT. We describe an evidence-based framework for adapting CBT for individuals from non-Western cultures that will benefit clinicians who practise CBT and individuals from different cultural backgrounds.
To appraise and synthesize empirical literature on implementation of evidence within community nursing. To explore the use of implementation theory and identify the strategies required for, and the barriers and facilitators to, successful implementation within this context.
There is an international consensus that evidence-based practice can improve outcomes for people using health and social care services. However, these practices are not always translated into care delivery. Community nursing is a relatively understudied area; little is known about how innovations in practice are implemented within this setting.
Systematic mixed-studies review, synthesizing quantitative and qualitative research. The electronic databases AMED, PsycINFO, Ovid Medline, CINAHL Plus, ASSIA, British Nursing Index and EMBASE were used. Two grey literature databases were also searched: OpenGrey and EThOS. English language, peer-reviewed papers published between January 2010 and July 2017 were considered. Criteria included implementation of an innovation and change to practice within adult community nursing. An approach called Critical Interpretive Synthesis was used to integrate the evidence from across the studies into a comprehensible theoretical framework.
In total, 22 papers were reviewed. Few studies discussed the use of theory when planning, guiding and evaluating the implementation of the innovation (n=6). A number of implementation strategies, facilitators and barriers were identified across the included studies, highlighting the interplay of both service context and individual factors in successful implementation.
Implementation is an expanding area of research; yet is challenged by a lack of consistency in terminology and limited use of theory. Implementation within community nursing is a complex process, requiring both individual and organizational adoption, and managerial support. Successful adoption of evidence-based practice however, is only possible if community nurses themselves deem it useful and there is evidence that it could have a positive impact on the patient and/or their primary carer.
The impact of disasters and large-scale crises continues to increase around the world. To mitigate the potential disasters that confront humanity in the new millennium, an evidence-informed approach to disaster management is needed. This study provides the platform for such an evidence-informed approach by identifying peer-reviewed disaster management publications from 1947 through July 2017.
Peer-reviewed disaster management publications were identified using a comprehensive search of: MEDLINE (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland USA); CINAHL (EBSCO Information Services; Ipswich, Massachusetts USA); EMBASE (Elsevier; Amsterdam, Netherlands); PsychInfo (American Psychological Association; Washington DC, USA); and the Cochrane Library (The Cochrane Collaboration; Oxford, United Kingdom).
A total of 9,433 publications were identified. The publications were overwhelmingly descriptive (74%) while 18% of publications reported the use of a quantitative methodology and eight percent used qualitative methodologies. Only eight percent of these publications were classified as being high-level evidence. The publications were published in 918 multi-disciplinary journals. The journal Prehospital and Disaster Medicine (World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine; Madison, Wisconsin USA) published the greatest number of disaster-management-related publications (9%). Hurricane Katrina (2005; Gulf Coast USA) had the greatest number of disaster-specific publications, followed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania USA). Publications reporting on the application of objective evaluation tools or frameworks were growing in number.
The “science” of disaster management is spread across more than 900 different multi-disciplinary journals. The existing evidence-base is overwhelmingly descriptive and lacking in objective, post-disaster evaluations.
SmithEC, BurkleFMJr, AitkenP, LeggattP. Seven Decades of Disasters: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(4):418–423
Recent developments have led the UK government to deem clinical supervision ‘essential’ to a safe and effective national health service. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) supervision has been increasingly operationalized and manualized, but there are few psychometrically sound observational instruments with which to measure CBT supervision. This paper reports the factor analysis of a promising 23-item instrument for observing competence in CBT supervision (Supervision: Adherence and Guidance Evaluation: SAGE). N =115 qualified mental health practitioners (supervisors and their supervisees) rated the same supervision session by completing SAGE. A principal components analysis indicated that a two-factor solution, identified as the ‘Supervision Cycle’ and the ‘Supervisee Cycle’ components, accounted for 52.8% of the scale variance and also demonstrated high internal reliability (α = .91 and α = .81, respectively). These findings provide the basis for a shorter, 14-item version of SAGE, clarify the factor structure of SAGE, ease implementation, and afford more succinct feedback. Short-SAGE also improves implementation yield, taking half the time to complete as the original 23-item scale. These conceptual and practical improvements strengthen the role of SAGE as a promising observational instrument for evaluating CBT supervision, complementing self-report assessments of competent CBT supervision with an instrument that can fulfil the distinctive functions that are provided through direct observation.
Currently recommended psychotherapies for depression are not always delivered in a consistent manner. There is an assumption that the use of clinical supervision will ensure reliable treatment and patient recovery. However, there is limited research supporting this assumption. This study explored the role of supervision in the treatment of depression. In particular, it examined how supervisors’ own characteristics and those of patients can influence the focus of supervision sessions. Clinical supervisors who worked with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) therapists treating depression cases were asked to indicate their supervision focus for three different patient vignettes. These vignettes varied in clinical complexity. Participants’ intolerance to uncertainty and their self-esteem were also assessed. Supervisors tended to focus their supervisees on the use of evidence-based therapeutic techniques for both straightforward and complex cases. However, their approach was less evidence-based for diffuse cases. Three supervisory types emerged: an ‘Alliance- and Technique-Focused’ group, a ‘Case Management-Focused’ group, and an ‘Unfocused’ group. Personal characteristics of the supervisors varied across the groups. The content of supervision sessions is influenced by factors from outside the therapy process. These factors might cause supervisors to avoid focusing on evidence-based aspects of therapy, thus feeding therapist drift. Suggestions are made for new supervision protocols that consider the supervisor's personal characteristics.
Evidence-based practice (EBP), which is commonly implemented in high-income countries (HICs), integrates the best research evidence, clinical expertise and patient preferences in the planning and provision of healthcare for both physical and mental health conditions. Although the same principles of EBP apply in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), research into and implementation of such interventions in these countries remains significantly behind compared with HICs. This article presents a brief overview of the global mental health agenda and initiatives aiming to address this pressing gap through the promotion of research and scaling up services, identification of barriers to developing and implementing EBP in LMICs, and possible solutions to overcome them.
Introduction: Translating research evidence into routine clinical practice in emergency departments (EDs) often requires changing the behavior(s) of one or more member of the healthcare team. Changing strongly entrenched behavior patterns or occasional behaviors that are impacted by psychological, social or environmental factors can be challenging. We conducted a systematic review of the literature to identify implementation strategies that have been evaluated to change ED provider behavior and promote the uptake of evidence in emergency practice settings. Methods: The following databases were systematically searched from inception to 2017 with the support of a library scientist: MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase and Cochrane CENTRAL. We also manually searched the last 5 years of Annals of Emergency Medicine, Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, and Implementation Science. Studies were assessed by two independent reviewers and retained if they included one or more of the implementation strategies listed in the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organization of Care (EPOC) Taxonomy, targeted any health care provider working in any type of emergency department. The Cochrane Risk of Bias tool was used to assess study quality. Results: Following review of 13,000 title and abstracts, 33 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of included studies were randomized control trials (N=32) and 50% were published in the last seven years. Although poorly described, interventions targeted either physicians (n=12), nurses (n=8), pharmacists (n=1) or multi-disciplinary teams (n=12). Common behavioral targets included compliance with practice guidelines, test ordering and prescribing. According to the EPOC Taxonomy most implementation strategies were multi-component and could be categorized as either educational materials/meetings and/or reminders. Only one study author reported using evidence to inform the design of the implementation strategy. Effect sizes varied across relevant study outcomes but the direction of effect was positive in 22/33 included studies. Heterogeneity of study interventions and outcomes precluded meta-analysis. Conclusion: To strengthen the evidence base regarding implementation strategies that promote provider behavior change across different ED contexts, there is a critical need to improve both the design and reporting of implementation strategies in ED research.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for major depression is an effective treatment, but outcomes for complex cases, with co-occurring biological, psychological and social factors, are variable. Complexity factors can cause treatment to become diffuse, disorganized and over-complicated. At Step 3, disorder-specific protocols should be provided with therapy kept as simple as possible and delivered responsively, e.g. barriers to treatment should be tackled, ensure the client is well-prepared and seek to form a strong therapeutic alliance. At Step 4, if disorder-specific protocols have been ineffective, the priority is to formulate how complexity factors are interacting with the client's depression. An individualized formulation is used to carefully target these interactions. The treatment is still evidence-based and simple at the point of delivery, but there is greater emphasis on case-level interactions that are unique to each individual. Case examples are used to illustrate both approaches.
A pilot study of the effectiveness of guided access to websites that provide information on intervention options for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was conducted with 12 parents of preschool-aged children with ASD. Guided access to reliable websites that included information about the efficacy of interventions for ASD (Raising Children Network, 2006–2014; Research Autism, 2006–2014) was provided in the format of a DVD presentation. The guidelines for choosing interventions provided on the Raising Children Network (2009) website were reiterated and assistance was provided with navigation and interpretation of the sites. Participants reported the guided access to reliable websites as useful and also reported an increased level of confidence in making intervention decisions after using the package. However, the guided access did not appear to influence the factors that parents considered important in decision-making, their understanding of the level of research support for interventions, nor their desire to use different interventions. Implications for future research and attempts to disseminate information to parents are discussed.
Background: There is increasing evidence claiming the effectiveness of motivational interviewing (MI) in promoting behavioural change. However, ongoing changes to MI theory and practice have implications for its transferability, accessibility and for the validity of previous findings. Lack of practice consistency may make its effectiveness difficult to evaluate. Aims: This paper explores the complexity of MI and issues in the development of evidence-based practice in delivery, before describing issues related to practitioner application. Method: Theoretical and practice developments over the last 30 years are reviewed under the headings theory, practice and efficacy. Specifically, developments across the three editions of the core MI texts are examined. Results: Findings from the literature suggest a lack of theoretical stability and practice integrity, with recent fundamental changes to the underpinning structure of MI. Issues relating to the transferability and acquisition of MI skills, consistency of delivery and mechanisms underlying change are discussed. Conclusions: The authors call for greater theoretical stability, more transparency over how developments are based on theoretical principles and empirical outcomes, and clearer guidance about how this informs practice development and delivery of MI.
Objectives: This study examined the current assessment practices of clinicians working with people with social cognition impairment following traumatic brain injury.
Method: Two hundred and sixty clinicians completed an on-line survey that was disseminated through professional brain injury organisations. Of respondents around 90% were allied health clinicians, with the remainder comprising medical, nursing and academia.
Main outcomes: The four areas of social cognition that were routinely assessed across the disciplines were insight, disinhibition, anger and social adjustment. The least routinely assessed areas were theory of mind and alexithymia. The test suggested most likely to identify social cognition impairments was The Awareness of Social Inference Test, although only 8% of clinicians responded to this question. Clinicians preferred informal assessment methods over standardised assessment methods for identifying social cognition rehabilitation goals. Higher levels of education were associated with greater use of standardised assessment modalities. Whilst there was paucity of responses overall, TBI Express was most commonly used for social cognition rehabilitation.
Conclusions: Considering the high prevalence of social cognition impairments in this population, formal assessment is extremely limited. The under-utilisation of assessment tools is problematic for the assessment and rehabilitation initiatives offered to people with TBI. These results have implications for the training of clinicians working in brain injury rehabilitation.
Clinical reasoning is one of the central components of psychological assessment. The identification of a client's psychological difficulties and the subsequent depiction of their onset, development, and interrelationships enables clinicians to plan treatment in a systematic and effective manner. In an article (Ward, Vertue, & Haig, 1999), we outlined the abductive theory of method (ATOM) and argued that it offered a useful framework for highlighting and integrating the major phases of psychological assessment. These phases involve detecting clinical phenomena, postulating psychological mechanisms, developing a case formulation, and evaluating a case formulation. In this article we present a revised version of the adaptation of ATOM and elaborate on the related clinical dimensions of assessment.
Contributors to this Special Issue of the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist have considered the kind of infrastructure that should be in place to best support and guide CBT supervisors, providing practical advice and extensive procedural guidance. Here we briefly summarize and discuss in turn the 10 papers within this Special Issue, including suggestions for further enhancements. The first paper, by Milne and Reiser, conceptualized this infrastructure in terms of an ‘SOS’ (supporting our supervisors) framework, from identifying supervision competencies, to training, evaluation and feedback strategies. The next nine papers illustrate this framework with specific technical innovations, educational enhancements and procedural issues, or through comprehensive quality improvement systems, all designed to support supervisors. These papers suggest an assortment of workable infrastructure developments: two large-scale and comprehensive initiatives, some promising proposals and technologies, and a series of local, exploratory work. Collectively, they provide us with models for further developing evidence-based cognitive-behavioural supervision, and offer practical suggestions for giving supervisors the tools and support to maximize their supervisees’ learning, and to improve the associated client outcomes. Much research and development work remains to be done, and successful implementation will require institutional and political support, as well as cross-cultural adaptations. We conclude with an optimistic assessment of progress toward addressing some of the infrastructure improvements required to adequately support supervisors.
Although clinicians have used cognitive behavioural case formulations (CBCFs) to guide treatment for many years, the validity of the case formulation (CF) is rarely evaluated. Given the central role of the formulation in treatment planning, particularly for complex or comorbid cases, a straightforward method to empirically evaluate the validity of the CBCF could increase the effectiveness of a treatment plan tailored for a particular client. This article describes a step-by-step, person-specific approach to evaluating a CBCF that can be used for appropriate cases in a clinical practice or especially a clinical training setting. The evaluation focuses on discriminant validity of person-specific scales and constructs and patterns of predicted functional relationships between idiosyncratic cognitions and distress. The approach is illustrated with an adult seen in a training clinic who was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and recurrent major depressive disorders and who completed 28 brief end-of-day, individualized questionnaires. The clinician's CBCF hypotheses were empirically evaluated using mostly simple statistical analyses available in readily accessible worksheets. Intervention implications of the CF evaluation are discussed.
Benefit-cost analysis (BCA) and related economic evaluation methods (cost analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis) have increasingly been applied to prevention and intervention programs for youth and young adults to assess their costs as well as the gains that may be anticipated from investing in these programs. This work reflects in part the growing prominence of evidence-based programs, policies, and practices as well as evidence-informed decision making. The papers included in this special issue represent a range of topics and issues, including the need for accurate and comprehensive assessment of program costs, high-quality BCAs of prevention and intervention programs, increasing recognition of the importance of monetizing noncognitive outcomes, and the role of BCA in pay for success financing arrangements. This introduction (a) describes the evidence-based context in which this work plays a role, (b) summarizes the practical and theoretical contributions of the papers, and (c) identifies the common themes.
Astronomy for development projects conceive of development in very broad terms and seek to affect a wide range of social outcomes. The histories of education, development economics and science communication research indicate that positive social impacts are often difficult to achieve. Without a scientific approach, astronomy's potential as a tool for development may never be realised nor recognised. Evidence-informed project design increases the chances of a project's success and likely impact while reducing the risk of unintended negative outcomes. The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) Impact Cycle is presented here as a possible framework for integrating evaluation and evidence-based practice in global Astronomy outreach and education delivery. The suggested framework offers a way to gradually accumulate knowledge about which approaches are effective and which are not, enabling the astronomy community to gradually increase its social impact by building on its successes.