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What Are Evidence-Based Techniques and Why Are They Important in Treatment?

Evidence-based techniques are the backbone of quality care. Using proven strategies, practices, and approaches can be the difference between a high quality of life and a poor one. Luckily, here at Sage Recovery, we are experts at providing evidence-based techniques. Before we discuss the reasons evidence-based techniques are useful in treatment, we first need to discuss the basics. 

What Are Evidence-Based Techniques?

As Neurotherapeutics explains, evidence-based treatments involve “integrating the best-available research with clinical expertise in the context of the patient’s culture, individual characteristics, and personal preferences.” In addition, the article also states, “The best research evidence refers to data from meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, effectiveness studies, and process studies, as well as information obtained from single-case reports, systematic case studies, qualitative and ethnographic research, and clinical observation.”

By using the “best-available research,” clinicians can make informed decisions based on the work other clinicians have completed. They can also consider the patient’s desires, preferences, and goals. This helps ensure that the patient is getting the best treatment possible. It also ensures safety, since the clinician is also aware of any potential side effects or common symptoms that may surface during treatment.

Furthermore, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirms, “The strategy therefore focuses on reducing barriers to accessing the most effective treatments, using motivational and cultural enhancements to encourage those who might be reluctant, advancing strategies to improve engagement and retention, and continuing to develop new therapeutic approaches.”

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders

One of the most common uses for evidence-based techniques is in the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are the presence of two or more disorders, which inevitably influence and exacerbate each other An example of this can be found in addiction, since substance use is often a symptom of something deeper, like a mental health disorder. If a patient is enduring symptoms related to unresolved trauma from their childhood, they may turn to alcohol and other drugs as forms of self-medication. 

Substance use is often perceived to help individuals feel more in control of their emotions, body, and internal dialogue. However, this confidence is false, as tolerance builds up quickly and since recurrent use informs the development of substance use disorder (SUD).

Evidence-based techniques are used to treat co-occurring disorders and all the symptoms that come along with them. Clinicians who have expertise in this area, like the ones at Sage Recovery, use various techniques that show effective results so they can help their patients establish lasting recovery and healing in their lives.

Psychotherapy: One of the Most Effective Evidence-Based Techniques

When discussing effective evidence-based techniques, psychotherapy ranks among one of the most effective approaches. Psychotherapy, also referred to as “talk therapy,” is an approach that allows a patient to process their feelings with a licensed clinician, typically a licensed professional counselor (LPC). LPCs can use different psychotherapy techniques to help their patients heal healthily. The type of technique used will vary, based on the LPC’s expertise, access to resources, and the patient’s needs.

Behavioral Therapies: Evidence-Based Techniques That Matter

Two common forms of psychotherapy are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). CBT and DBT are used frequently in treatment to address a variety of symptoms and diagnoses.

The most common behavioral therapy is CBT, which focuses on changing unhealthy thought patterns into constructive, helpful thoughts. As explained by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), CBT’s goal “is helping people to help themselves: They should be able to cope with their lives again without therapy as soon as possible.” Additionally, “This does not mean that cognitive behavioral therapy completely ignores the influence of past events. But it mainly deals with identifying and changing current distressing thought and behavioral patterns.”

Another behavioral therapy is DBT, which focuses more on changing behaviors. As the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explains, DBT “uses concepts of mindfulness and acceptance or being aware of and attentive to the current situation and emotional state.” Furthermore, the NIMH also states, “DBT also teaches skills that can help control intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behaviors (such as suicide attempts, thoughts, or urges; self-harm; and drug use), and improve relationships.”

Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

In addition to CBT and DBT, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another commonly used form of psychotherapy. EMDR is a technique that is typically used to help patients get relief from post-traumatic stress disorder and other symptoms of unresolved trauma. As the U.S. Veteran’s Association (VA) explains, “EMDR can help you process upsetting memories, thoughts, and feelings related to the trauma. By processing these experiences, you can get relief from PTSD symptoms.”

Here at Sage Recovery, we often use EMDR in conjunction with other approaches. This helps our patients get the most relief out of their treatment.

Group Therapy

A different form of talk therapy, group therapy allows attendees to connect with like-minded people who are experiencing similar circumstances. The publication titled Group Therapy by Malhotra & Baker explains that “Group therapy is the treatment of multiple patients at once by one or more healthcare providers.” It goes on to state that group therapy can be used to treat various diagnoses, such as:

Here at Sage Recovery, we know how much courage it takes to move towards healing. We know how difficult it can feel to want to heal from the hard things you’ve been through, especially when you aren’t sure where to start. The good news is that you don’t have to do any of it alone. We’re here to help. We pride ourselves on our ability to treat complex issues like substance use, co-occurring disorders, and mental disorders. Our masters-level clinicians are extensively trained in various evidence-based treatment approaches as well as providing trauma-informed care. You can rest easy knowing that you’ll be treated with respect while you receive quality care. When you’re ready, call us at (512) 306-1394.