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"Nothing in Life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less." 

-Marie Curie

What is Evidence-Based Treatment

Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) is a term that captures the use of the scientific method in identifying effective treatments for mental health disorders. EBTs are grounded in scientific research and examined through rigorous studies to optimize outcomes. EBTs continue to support and expand a range of helping resources in the mental health community.

Why is EBT Important?

EBTs typically are grounded in randomized clinical trials and an expert consensus of treatment effectiveness. Although there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of EBTs, there is also evidence that indicates variance of such methods in mental health programs.


To increase the chances of positive outcomes, an EBT practitioner implements a treatment as it was researched, honoring the fidelity of the model. EMH providers maintain fidelity to all EBTs implemented in our practice. 


Of note, EBTs are not guaranteed to produce positive treatment outcomes while at the same time, their implementation increases the probability of favorable outcomes.

What Are Characteristics of Evidence-Based Treatment in Mental Health?

EBTs possess many characteristics that can be spotted throughout the course of treatment. Look for these helpful signs:


  • Structured clinical interview

  • Specific behavior checklists/questionnaires



  • Targets specific treatment goals

  • Work on changing behaviors, thoughts, and emotions

  • Rely on a strong therapeutic alliance

  • Structured session/agenda

  • Learn new skills

  • Homework to practice new skills

  • Time limited



  • Utilizes up to date research

  • Clinical supervision

  • Consultation with colleagues 


Professional Experience:

  • Education/training in specific EBTs

  • Relevant work experience

  • Clinical supervision 

  • Providing consultation to other practitioners

  • Certifications in EBTs (characterized by requirements in education/training, professional experience, clinical supervision, passing scores on standardized tests about the treatment, and/or adherent scores on session video recordings)

What Questions Can I Ask My Mental Health Provider About Evidence-Based Treatment?

  1. What is the name of the type of therapy you offer? How does it work? What are the steps I have to take in this type of therapy?

  2. What’s the mechanism for change? Or in other words, what has research indicated is the main reason people get better with this specific treatment? What research studies support these conclusions?

  3. How do you determine which treatment is best for my specific treatment concerns?

  4. What trainings do you have in Evidence-Based Treatment? What certifications, if any, do you have? What did you have to do to earn this certification?

  5. What supervision or consultation do you receive to implement this treatment?

  6. How many times have you completed implemented the recommended treatment model?

  7. Where can I learn more about the recommended treatment?

  8. What can I do to support my work in treatment? How long does treatment take?

  9. How can you or I tell if the treatment is working? How can you tell if it is failing, succeeding, or no longer needed?

Where Can I Locate More Information on Evidence-Based Treatments?

You can gather more information on specific evidence-based treatments from some of the leading authorities in the mental health community:

California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare

SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

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