Evidence-based psychological treatments: an update and a way forward

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2013;9:1-27. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050212-185629. Epub 2012 Dec 14.


Enormous progress in the field of clinical science has been made over the past 50 years, with advances in our understanding of psychopathology and more sophisticated research methodology leading to the development of more efficacious psychological treatments for a variety of behavioral disorders. Despite these advances, the public health impact of well-established psychological treatments is less than it should be. After an overview of the current status of the field, we identify barriers that must be overcome to maximize the public health impact and propose that to breach these barriers we must (a) augment the efficacy of treatments, (b) broaden the impact of treatments across diagnoses to include temperamental variables, (c) attend more closely to mechanisms of action of treatments, and (d) learn the best methods for disseminating and implementing psychological interventions. We conclude by proposing new directions in both research and clinical practice to accomplish these goals.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / history*
  • Psychology, Clinical / history*
  • Psychotherapy / history*