From Research To Practice

From Research To Practice

The Verdict Is Clear

By Jay Lebow

January/February 2006

ESTs have an incontestable track record with anxiety

Every self-respecting therapist knows that the value of empirically supported therapies is a hotly debated subject these days. Critics repeatedly point out that, outside of therapy outcome studies, clients rarely present themselves with the sort of uncomplicated, pure, DSM-delineated diagnosis around which empirically validated treatments are structured and show such high success rates. To many therapists, manualized treatments feel rigid, agenda driven, and unequal to the messy reality they see in their offices every day. Even therapists who work on manual-driven projects have been known to report, off the record, that after the first few sessions, their work becomes increasingly variable and idiosyncratic—just like the real people they're treating.

Nonetheless, it can't be denied that, with certain problems, some empirically supported treatments (ESTs) have been proven highly effective. Probably the best example is anxiety treatment. The ESTs developed to treat anxiety have consistently demonstrated better results than medications, without the side effects and treatment dropout that often accompany meds. They've proven to be highly effective for the following problems:

Panic Disorder. Panic disorder strikes between three and six million Americans, and is twice as common in women as men. People…

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