Theory and Research-Based Treatment

Treatment for disorders has evolved from major theories such as psychoanalytic (psychoanalysis), behavioral (behavior modification), cognitive (cognitive therapy), humanistic (client-centered therapy), and biological (medical model). Other therapies have evolved from combination of theories, such as cognitive-behavioral and clinical neuropsychological (biological and cognitive).
Based on research and other factors, treatments have changed over time and have improved, but not without controversy. One of the most fervent controversies in the psychology research literature involves how to best study psychotherapy. This controversy has pitted practitioners from differing theoretical schools against each other (and researchers against practitioners). One side of this controversy is represented by a perspective that sees much of clinical practice as unscientific and hopes to demonstrate which types of therapy are clinically effective. Typically, this approach to studying psychotherapy examines particular types or techniques of therapy. Researchers use a method called randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in which the technique in question is implemented with one group of clients and compared to a control condition, in which either no treatment or some alternate technique is provided.
Critics disagree with this approach. They note that this approach to research emphasizes small and relatively meaningless distinctions between techniques, focuses on brands of therapy rather than examining the common processes that occur in counseling sessions, does not allow us to study what actually leads to change in psychotherapy, and does not reflect how psychotherapy is actually applied in clinical practice. For instance, they note the following:
1. The effects of different types of psychotherapy are small compared to other factors in the therapeutic environment, such as the quality of the therapeutic relationship, or client factors such as motivation.
2. RCTs are based on a medical model that emphasizes symptom reduction, when in real-world practice, psychotherapy often attempts to address the problems underlying and creating symptoms.
3. RCTs focus on single problems, when in real-world practice, clients often present with multiple problems and target problems that change as psychotherapy progresses.
4. RCTs rely on manualized versions of techniques in which practitioners move mechanically through certain steps, whereas in clinical practice, therapists adapt techniques to fit unique individuals.
These critics are not suggesting that the RCT approach to validating particular therapies be abandoned, but that this research should take place in a context that includes other approaches to studying psychotherapy.
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Required Resources
The following resources are required to complete the assessment.
Library Resources
The following e-books or articles from the Library are linked directly in this course:
• American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.
Internet Resources
Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have either been granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.
• World Health Organization. (2015). International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD-10). Retrieved from
Suggested Resources
The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom.
Click the links provided to view the following resources:
• APA Paper Template.
Library Resources
The following e-books or articles from the University Library are linked directly in this course:
• Kazdin, A. E. (2008). Evidence-based treatment and practice: New opportunities to bridge clinical research and practice, enhance the knowledge base, and improve patient care. American Psychologist, 63(3), 146–159.
• Seligman, M. E. P. (1995). The effectiveness of psychotherapy: The Consumer Reports study. American Psychologist, 50(12), 965–974.
• Goldfried, M. R., & Davila, J. (2005). The role of relationship and technique in therapeutic change.Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 42(4), 421–430.
• Lambert, M. J., & Barley, D. E. (2001). Research summary on the therapeutic relationship and psychotherapy outcome. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 38(4), 357–361.
Course Library Guide
The University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the PSYC-FP3110 – Abnormal Psychology Library Guide to help direct your research.
Internet Resources
Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have either been granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.
• Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives. (n.d.). Retrieved from
• American Psychiatric Association. Understanding ICD-10-CM and DSM-5: A quick guide for psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians. Retrieved from
• American Psychiatric Association. (2009). ICD vs. DSM. Monitor on Psychology, 40(9), 63. Retrieved from
• American Psychiatric Association Practice Organization. (2013, May 16). Nine frequently asked questions about DSM-5 and ICD-10-CM. Retrieved from
Bookstore Resources
The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required.
Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S. M., & Hooley, J. M. (2014). Abnormal psychology (16th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Assessment Instructions
Diagnoses change and evolve over time and can look similar or different between classification systems. For this assessment, select one psychological disorder discussed in the current edition of the DSM. Using the DSM and ICD-10, both linked in the Resources under the Required Resources heading, along with three or more scholarly journal articles, complete the following:
• Select a psychological theory and discuss how it would view the causes of the specific disorder.
• Discuss the current diagnostic criteria for the disorder from the DSM. Provide a brief case example that would meet the diagnostic criteria, and explain how specific behaviors in the case fit with specific criteria of the diagnosis.
• Describe how the ICD-10 version of the diagnosis and the DSM version of the diagnosis are similar and different.
• Describe past and current treatment of the disorder. Were there lessons learned over time? Explain what led to the changes in treatment approaches.
• Provide a recommendation for treatment of the disorder.
• Describing the research you conducted and the findings of the research, support your recommended treatment with evidence from scholarly research.
If you wish, you may use the APA Paper Template, linked in the Resources, to complete this assessment.
Additional Requirements
• Title page: Include a title, your name, course, instructor, and faculty name.
• References: Use the current edition of the DSM, the ICD-10, and three or more peer-reviewed journal articles.
• Written communication: Written communication should be free of errors that detract from the overall message.
• APA formatting: Resources and citations should be formatted according to APA style and formatting.
• Length: Your assessment should be 5pages, double-spaced pages.
• Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
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