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Journal article

The bad faith of evidence-based practice: beyond counsels of despair

ROGERS Andy, MAIDMAN Jennifer, HOUSE Richard
Journal article citation:
Therapy Today, 22(6), July 2011, pp.26-29.
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

In a previous article (ibid,22(4),2011,pp.10-16) Cooper made a case for embracing randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in counselling and psychotherapy research. This article argues that such a move risks colluding with, tacitly legitimising and thereby reinforcing a reductionist worldview which runs counter to the core assumptions of much therapeutic work. The article aims to challenge the validity, appropriateness and political effects of Cooper’s position. It argues that RCTs are widely recognised to use an inappropriate methodology and paradigm for appraising relational, explorative, non-mechanistic therapies. It asks the question as to whether practitioners should collude with, and tacitly support, the message that only NICE-approved forms of therapy are worth undertaking, with relational RCTs underpinning this ideology. The article suggests some values-congruent alternatives which place the virtue of faithful adherence to fundamental principles and associated practices at their heart. Rather than attempting to prove, using RCTs, that relational, explorative therapies are as good as State-approved ones, practitioners should strive to offer a genuine choice, a counter-cultural alternative, with practices and research methodologies consistent with their core therapy values.

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