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Methodological Issues Article Review

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Over the years, psychological research has been faced with numerous challenges. Unlike research in other fields, psychological research aimed at establishing effective treatments is not an easy task. This can be largely attributed to methodological conflicts that can only be described as unique to psychological research. Indeed the greatest challenge during any psychological research aimed at establishing the right treatment is the best methodological approach that can be used. Others argue that the best treatment can only be validated by evidence-based practice while others argue that practice-based evidence is the valid method. As such, evaluating the effectiveness of a given psychological treatment becomes an issue.

Based on the fact that psychologists have been perceived to offer clinical healthcare services rather than just mental healthcare services, decisions on the right type of medication is very critical. Evidence-based practice suggests that such decisions should be made based on treatments that have been shown by research to be effective (Bauer, 2007). It is also important to note that EBP is a broad subject that not only help in decision making, but also outlines how best practices enhanced by practitioner’s expertise and contributions from the patients can improve the quality of care. Unlike evidence-based practice, Practice-based evidence focuses on nature and the relevant needs of an individual in a therapeutic relationship rather than just studying treatments. Looking at the two methodological approaches, it is clear that indeed controversies exist. It is quite challenging for psychologists to decide on a treatment option because some argue that the right treatment option must be evidence-based while others believe that practice-based evidence is the way to go.

Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the disorders whose treatment options have been outlined in the DSM-5. One such treatment option is the use of group therapy. Gratz, Tull & Levy (2013) conducted a research study to investigate the efficacy of adjunctive emotion regulation group therapy (ERGT) in treating deliberate self-harm among women with BPD. Their findings revealed that indeed there were improvements observed on the participants from pre to post treatment hence affirming the efficacy of the treatment option (Gratz, Tull, & Levy, 2013).

Analyzing the article from Bauer’s point of view, it would be considered appropriate for decision making regarding the treatment option to implement. This because according to him, the efficacy of a treatment option can only be affirmed based on the current evidence-based research (Bauer, 2007). Therefore, based on the fact that the research was conducted following the right procedures and the findings recorded, then the treatment option can be recommended. It would also be important to note that according to Bauer, such procedures are considered right because there’s accountability.

Brendtro, Mitchell, & Doncaster (2011) on the other hand would analyze the article in a different way. According to them, evidence-based practice is simply based on shaky science and cannot be adequately used to determine the type of treatment to be used. They suggest that instead of exposing patients to toxic environments, psychologists should consider therapeutic interventions and the needs of a person as well (Brendtro, Mitchel, & Doncaster, 2011). Actually, by critically looking at the article, the authors would not have an issue with the treatment option. However, their main argument is that there is no need to use such research studies to make decisions regarding the treatment option, but rather the treatment option should be decided by nature as well as the needs of the patient. In other words, the authors would have turned this research study to a real group therapy session and make decisions based on the prevailing situation.

Evidence-based practice is one of the most accepted methods in determining the type of treatment to be used. This is so because of a number of reasons. To begin with, evidence-based practice is based on evidence-based research which generally has to be approved by the relevant authorities. It is also based on several studies that have been conducted and proven to be effective. As such, evidence-based practice can truly offer practitioners with valid information regarding the best type of treatment for BPD (Paris, 2014). In fact, it is true to say that results of more than three studies showing the efficacy of a given treatment can be wrong. In other words, the probability of the same treatment working effectively on another patient is very high. The other thing is that the procedure of declaring a given treatment option as evidence-based practice holds some credibility and integrity hence, causing it to be acceptable.

In my opinion, both methods are valid. However, I totally disagree that practice-based evidence can exist on its own. This is because according to me, it is like trial and error method because practice-based evidence lacks reference. In terms of credibility and accountability, evidence-based practice also takes the lead. This is because, evidence based practice rely on documented facts based on recent research but practice-based evidence does not hold anyone accountable hence, low credibility. However, in my opinion practice-based evidence can be used in determining the type of treatment for conditions that are less serious or exhibit shared symptoms. Also, in situations where combined treatment can be used, then practice-based evidence can be used alongside evidence-based practice (Paris, 2014).


Bauer, R. M. (2007). Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology:Implications for Research and Research Training. Journal of Clinical Psychology , Vol. 63(7), 685–694.

Brendtro, L. K., Mitchel, M. L., & Doncaster, J. (2011). Practice-Based Evidence:Back to the Future. Reclaiming Children and Youth , volume 19, number 4.

Gratz, K. L., Tull, M. T., & Levy, R. (2013). Randomized controlled trial and uncontrolled 9-month follow-up of an adjunctive emotion regulation group therapy for deliberate self-harm among women with borderline personality disorder. Psychological Medicine , Vol 44, issue 10, pp 2099-2112.

Paris, J. (2014). Chronic suicidality among patients with borderline personality disorder.

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