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How to reform psychology

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After going through Sharon Begley’s article, I found myself in a dilemma; it was hard for me to decide on whether to use the latest scientific discovered methods or rely on clinician’s/ their colleagues’ clinical experiences. From Begley’s article, one can deduce that there exists an insurmountable gap between empirically and clinically derived evidence in all areas of practice (Begley, 2009). However, before I declare my stand on which method is more appropriate, I will provide some reasons as to why practitioners have shown resistance to the medicine that is evidence-based.
Doctors, as well as therapists, are from the group of special careers that value practitioner’ experiences very much. The value of their experience increases as they devote much of their time to the practicing. Unlike clinical experience that accumulates with time, research evidence involves updating and creating researches so that any of scientists can do researches. It is as a result of the “ cookbook medicine” associated with research evidence that the clinicians advocate employment of personal experience in serving patients. In relation to this assertion, it is evident that the clinicians prefer personal experience to research evidence. Such attitude makes the clinicians think that they know more than the scientific studies that are often carried out.
The clinicians also believe in clinical experience as a main focus in decision-making regarding the treatment. In their education as well as in clinical training, majority of the graduates prove to be less enthusiastic about empirically based practice. They are mostly non-committal to having the Empirical Based Practice integrated in the course work (Lilienfeld, et al. 2013). Scientific researches seen by them are mostly based on statistics. Scientific-based medicine, on the other hand, is a method of treatment that relies on valid results. The use of valid results makes this method have a higher probability of making treatments effective. However, there are some chances for such treatment method not to be effective. When a clinician believes he has enough experience in treating some illness, he avoids using the unknown method in treating the patient. This practice is in relation to the fact that clinicians often do not want to see their patients suffering for long in the name of proving the efficacy of the new treatment method.
There is some psychotherapy that are supported scientifically more than others. From this assertion, one can deduce that some clinical practices can be created and employed in medication. In other words, evidence-based practice allows the modification or changing of some of the clinician’s longstanding practices. It is as a result of this reason that evidence-based practice is often met with a stubborn resistance. The clinicians, based on their past experiences, think they can apply certain twists or changes to the applied medications in order to provide effective service to their patients.
Practitioners, who develop their personal practice via individual knowledge gained through their practice experience and not research-based, often provide efficient treatment to the patients. However, sometimes such practices result in inefficiency in treatment. Although employment of personal experience in the treatment may result in inefficient treatment, it is inappropriate to refer to such method anti-science. This is in relation to the fact that all psychologists are educated and trained; the training and education in this field are all based on science.
The preference of using personal experience on treatment by clinicians is comprehensive; it makes scientific updating dispensable. In support of this assertion, healers commonly used ineffective and often injurious practices such as purging and bleeding in handling patients (Baker, McFall & Shoham, 2009). Such techniques were used year after year because physicians were firmly convinced that they were helping their patients. According to the psychologists today, one of the main causes of resistance is naïve realism also referred to as common sense realism (Lilienfeld, et al. 2013). Naïve realism allows a practitioner to employ unguided clinical instinct in treatment instead of scientific research. Other causes of resistance may also include placebo effects that are just improvements that result from the expectation of a patient to improve. Therefore, employment of personal experience in the treatment by clinicians outweighs the use of research-based science.
Baker, T., McFall, R., Shoham, V. (2009). How to Reform Psychology. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/13/AR2009111302221. html
Begley, S. (2009). Why Psychologists Reject Science: Begley. Retrieved from file:///H:/Why%20Psychologists%20Reject%20Science%20%20Begley. htm
Lilienfeld, S. O., Ritschel, L. A., Lynn, S. J., Cautin, R. L., & Latzman, R. D. (2013). Why many clinical psychologists are resistant to evidence-based practice: Root causes and constructive remedies. Clinical psychology review, 33(7), 883-900.

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