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APS Award Address

Rebooting Psychotherapy Research and Practice: Using Science and Technology to Improve Clinical Care and Reduce the Burden of Mental Illness

Saturday, May 29, 2010, 2:00 PM - 2:50 PM
Grand Ballroom

Alan E. Kazdin

Alan E. Kazdin
Yale University

Psychotherapy research and practice are engulfed in ongoing controversy with strongly felt concerns (among researchers) about the imperviousness of clinical practice to empirical evidence and equally intense concerns (among practitioners) about the relevance and utility of most research. Much of the squabble is internal and seemingly oblivious to what we are trying to accomplish. Reducing the burden of mental illness, broadly defined, is or ought to be the main goal of our interventions. Minor tinkering with research and practice, without a major reboot, may not have genuine impact that makes a difference to this goal. This address discusses the need for an expanded portfolio of interventions and models of treatment delivery. Science and technology can help right now to improve the quality of clinical care and reduce the burden of mental illness. Among the many changes would be an expansion of ways of delivering treatment with our usual clinical practice model as more likely the exception rather than the core or sole modality of delivering services. Nonmainstream methods of delivering treatment with a strong scientific base are highlighted because they could make a difference in our own country as well as on the world stage. In the process of suggesting a refocused research and practice agenda, the presentation will be seasoned ever so slightly with tirades, righteous indignation, finger pointing, and efforts to seize the high moral ground to ensure that scholarship and novel ideas do not dominate.

Subject Area: General

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