On the Newsstand: Special Edition

This special edition of On the Newsstand features quotes from media coverage of “Current Status and Future Prospects of Clinical Psychology: Toward a Scientifically Principled Approach to Mental and Behavioral Health Care, ” a Psychological Science in the Public Interest report (Volume 9, Issue 2) by Timothy B. Baker, Richard M. McFall, and Varda Shoham.

Nature
“Psychology: A Reality Check” by Allison Abbott
October 15, 2009
“There is a moral imperative to turn the craft of psychology — in danger of falling, Freud-like, out of fashion — into a robust and valued science informed by the best available research and economic evidence.”

“If clinical psychology in the United States wants to remain viable and relevant in today’s health systems, it needs to publicly embrace science.”

“Clinical psychology at least has its roots in experimentation, but it is drifting away from science. Concerns about cost–benefit issues are growing, especially in the United States. According to a damning report published last week, an alarmingly high proportion of practitioners consider scientific evidence to be less important than their personal — that is, subjective — clinical experience.”

“The irony is that, during the past 20 years, science has made great strides in directions that could support clinical psychology — in neuroimaging, for example, as well as molecular and behavioural genetics, and cognitive neuroscience. Numerous psychological interventions have been proved to be both effective and relatively cheap. Yet many psychologists continue to use unproven therapies that have no clear outcome measures — including, in extreme cases, such highly suspect regimens as ‘dolphin-assisted therapy’.”

Los Angeles Times
“Do Therapists Know What They’re Doing? Don’t Bank on it, Three Psychologists Say”
by Rosie Mestel
October 8, 2009
“When we’re battling psychological problems and go see a therapist for treatment, we tend to trust that it’s doing us good. But should we?”

“… such reform is more important now than ever, given the increasing number of people diagnosed with mental disorders. And they say that increased health costs have both exacerbated the problem — by shunting more treatment away from trained psychologists toward general medical health settings— but also make it more important that effective treatments are chosen.”

Nature.com
Quote of the Day
October 5, 2009
“The disconnect between what clinicians do and what science has discovered is an unconscionable embarrassment. [There is a] widening gulf between clinical practice and science.
-Walter Mischel of Columbia University says psychologists are increasingly out of step with science in their treatment of patients.

Newsweek
“Ignoring the Evidence: Why Do Psychologists Reject Science?”
by Sharon Begley
October 2, 2009
“It’s a good thing couches are too heavy to throw, because the fight brewing among therapists is getting ugly. For years, psychologists who conduct research have lamented what they see as an antiscience bias among clinicians, who treat patients. But now the gloves have come off.”

“A 2008 survey of 591 psychologists in private practice found that they rely more on their own and colleagues’ experience than on science when deciding how to treat a patient.”

“If public shaming doesn’t help, Baker’s team suggests a new accreditation system to “stigmatize ascientific training programs and practitioners.” (The APA says its current system does require scientific training and competence.) ”

The Chronicle of Higher Education
“Report Calls for Added Science in Psychology PhD Programs” by Simmi Aujla
October 2, 2009
“The current accreditation system is ’a holdover from many people falling back onto personal hunches because either they didn’t have the training or at one point the research evidence wasn’t there,’ says Timothy B. Baker, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. ’It’s evolved, and now is the time for us to increase the rigor of our training.’”

Science Magazine
“Shrinking the Shrinks” by Constance Holden
October 2, 2009
“Many training programs for clinical psychologists in the United States should be scrapped, an organization of psychologists says. In a report to be released this month, the Association for Psychological Science (APS) calls for more scientific rigor in psychotherapy.”

“The report lambastes the American Psychological Association (APA)—which comprises mainly clinical psychologists— for lax accreditation standards and proposes a new mechanism for certifying PhD training programs.”

Observer Vol.22, No.9 November, 2009

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