The term evidence-based practice (EBP) is often confused with the act of locating treatments which have been well-supported through past research studies, and then deciding to apply these treatments to one’s work with clients. This latter model formally originated within psychology and can be called the Research-Supported Treatments (RST) initiative, and is sponsored by Division 12 (Clinical) of the American Psychological Association. EBP is a quite different approach, originating in medicine, and includes many other considerations in choosing assessment and treatment options. These other central elements include client preferences and values, professional ethics, costs, one’s own clinical expertise, available resources, all of which are valued equally with research evidence. This generic clinical decision making model of EBP has been widely adopted in many health and social care professions and is having a major impact on both services and education. This presentation reviews the history and development of both EBP and ERSTs, and suggests why the RST approach is a far more limited model of practice than EBP. EBP is quite congruent with behavior analysis, and the parallels between the two fields will be illustrated.
About the Speaker
Bruce A. Thyer, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LCSW is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – D, and a professor of social work at Florida State University. He is a past-member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been a member of ABAI-International since 1979. He has served on the Executive Committees of Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association and of the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts. Holding degrees in both social work and psychology, Dr. Thyer’s academic focus has been on promoting behavior analysis within the large field of social work. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, and the Society for Social Work and Research. He has authored over 50 articles and chapters related to behavior analysis, and edited two books in our field, The Philosophical Legacy of Behaviorism (Kluwer, 1999), and Finding Solutions for Social Problems: Behavioral Strategies for Change (APA, 1996). His most recent books are Science and Pseudoscience in Social Work (Springer, 2015) and Program Evaluation: An Introduction to an Evidence-based Approach, 6th edition (Cengage, 2015).