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Going beyond evidence based and common factors approaches: A social constructionist model of therapeutic factors

[Speaker] Van Zyl, Francois N:1
1:University of South Africa (South Africa(Republic of South Africa))

The inception of psychology as a practicing profession in 1938 brought with it a continuing scientific struggle geared towards cementing its place as a value-adding health service in the form of psychotherapy. Concepts such as empirically supported treatments (ESTs) and evidence based practice (EBP) arose out of research attempts to scientifically prove the efficacy of psychological treatment versus psychiatric medications or versus no treatment. This focus on evidence influences public policy in the form of practice and training mandates as well as government and insurance funding policies for psychotherapy. This paper differentiates between ESTs and EBP as well as the common factors approach and continues to critically investigate the advantages, practical/policy implications and epistemological critiques against these approaches. Some of the identified shortfalls resulting from unwarranted epistemological (empirical) assumptions are addressed by proposing a meta-model of therapeutic factors based on social constructionist- and family systems theory.
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