Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Evidence-Based Practice and Psychological Treatments: The Imperatives of Informed Consent.

Charlotte R. Blease, Scott O. Lilienfeld and John M. Kelley
Front. Psychol., 10 August 2016

Here is an excerpt:

Professional competence—the ability to accurately assess problems, diagnose psychological disorders, recommend an appropriate course of treatment, and successfully carry out that treatment—varies depending on the degree to which the clinician keeps up to date with the latest research and effectively evaluates the evidence. The APA requires that clinicians be trained in EBP to be equipped to appraise the range of evidence regarding the efficacy of different forms of psychotherapy, to recognize the strengths and limitations of clinical intuition, and to understand the importance of patient preferences and values, as well as the relevance of the socio-cultural context in treating clients. In this way, the APA acknowledges that EBP requires knowledge of controlled clinical trials, but also underlines that trial data have inherent limitations. For example, such trials can be unrepresentative of individual patients given that they can be largely insensitive to such factors as age of patient, and comorbidity [American Psychological Association (APA), 2006; cf. Greenhalgh et al., 2014; Sheridan and Julian, 2016]. The APA also emphasizes the importance of keeping up to date with the latest process—and not merely outcome—data on how psychotherapies work [American Psychological Association (APA), 2006].

The duty to be professionally competent carries significant additional implications for the duty to respect patient autonomy. Historically, paternalism was the largely unquestioned bedrock of healthcare practice. Paternalism is defined as “the interference of a state or an individual by another person, against their will, and defended or motivated by the claim that the person interfered with will be better off or protected from harm” (Dworkin, 2010); it was defended on the grounds that doctors were the gatekeepers of medical knowledge, as well as the best judges of how to use that knowledge to serve the interests of patients. Today, healthcare ethics codes (in the West) eschew paternalism: professional clinicians are now obliged to be truthful and to provide adequate disclosure to patients about their diagnosis, the risks and benefits of various treatment options, and their duration and costs (Trachsel et al., 2015; Blease et al., 2016; Trachsel and Gaab, 2016). However, the quality of disclosures to patients depends on practitioner knowledge, illustrating once again why standards of evidence are enmeshed with ethics.

The article is here.