Given the large number of therapy approaches that exist these days it’s quite difficult for individuals looking for therapy or a therapist to make a decision about it. According to the American Psychological Association there are at least five categories of therapies: (a) Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic, (b) behavioral, (c) cognitive behavioral, (d) humanistic, and (e) integrative therapies; within each one of these categories there are different models as well adding up to approximately 25 to 30 therapy options.

The biggest challenge is that not all of those therapies are research based, which basically means that we simply don’t know whether they’re effective or not. Given my clinical training,  I very often hear the question: what are empirically-supported treatments? So, I decided to answer that question with this post.

Research based therapies, also referred as empirically-supported treatments or evidence-based practices, are fundamentally therapy interventions that show the greatest results for individuals struggling with a particular psychological problem. All empirically supported treatments are tested under scientific rigorousity (randomized clinical trials) and showed consistently their positive results in different trials.

The Society of Clinical Psychology, a department from the American Psychological Association, is a recognized and accredited entity dedicated to establish a criteria for a given treatment intervention to be considered research based.

Why this information is important? One reason: life is too short for you to be spending emotional and financial resources in therapy services that are simply not effective to alleviate your psychological pain.

Therapy is an investment and it’s important to make an informed decision. If you’re interested in learning about effective treatments for particular struggles I recommend you to take a look at two specific resources:

1. “Therapy 101”
This is a book written by Jeffrey C. Wood, Psy.D. and M. Wood, N.P and reviews all existent therapy models as well as their effectiveness for different problems.

2.  Society of Clinical Psychology 
This link will allow you to see which treatment interventions are considered “strong” or “modest” for different psychological conditions.

Wood, J. & Wood, M. (2008). Therapy 101: A brief look at modern psychotherapy techniques & how they can help. Oakland, Ca: New Harbinger. American Psychological Association, Division 12: Society of Clinical Psychology.