Evidence Based Treatment


2% Threshold for Evidence-Based Treatment

Evidence-based treatment. These words can be heard and read all over the place. Everything needs to be evidence-based. When talking to counselors they often say with great pride that they use this or that technique and then follow it by saying, "it is evidence-based you know." 


It seemed that a person should be amazed and give instant credibility to anything that can attach itself to the magic term "evidence-based". 


Dr. White decided that because this term is so revered and honored, he needed to find out exactly what it meant, and how one obtains these magic words of approval next to their program. What he found was truly amazing. Warning... prepare yourself to be surprised and astonished at the bar you have to leap to obtain this prestigious designation of having an "evidence based treatment" 


When Dr. White first ran into a reliable definition, he just could not believe it. So, he dismissed it and kept searching for something much different. Surprisingly, he found source after source repeated the same definition and qualifications. Please make sure you are sitting down as you read about the true definition of what "evidence-based" means. 


To demonstrate an evidence-based treatment, you have to show with a study of some sort that your treatment idea creates a 2% improvement over doing nothing. That would mean a 2% success rate or a 2% improvement in a condition. The previous statement has been carefully proofread, and it contains no typos. You read that right, 2% is the threshold you have to reach to be deemed evidence-based. 


You could do almost anything, even as a joke, and create a 2% improvement. Remember, it is 2% compared to doing nothing, not 2% over another treatment or a set base success rate. Nope! 2% over doing nothing. If it works 2% better than just sitting in your car, then you have attained evidence-based air. You just have to do some kind of study to prove that 2%.


No wonder there is so much failure in the recovery community. We hope that nothing at AIM is reduced to being evidence-based. If that is all it is, we plan to throw it out and move on to something that actually works! AIM will not set its sights on the abysmally low bar of evidence-based treatment. 

work cited

American Psychological Association (APA) Division 12 (Clinical Psychology) Task Force ("APA standards" for short). These define an "empirically validated treatment" Or an evidence based treatment as being 2% more successful than a wait list or a placebo in 2 separate clinical trials. 


American Psychiatric Association. (2018). Practice guideline for the pharmacological treatment of patients with alcohol use disorder. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.


American Psychological Association. (2002). Criteria for evaluating treatment guidelines. American Psychologist, 57, 1052-1059.


American Psychological Association (2006). Evidence-based practice in psychology. American Psychologist, 61(4), 271-285.

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