Use of Novel Unsupported and Empirically Supported Therapies by Licensed Clinical Social Workers: An Exploratory Study by ProQuest


In recent years, evidence-based practice (EBP) has been a major focus in the social work profession. Concern has been expressed regarding licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) using novel unsupported interventions, especially those that made claims of efficacy in the absence of empirical evidence. The present exploratory study surveyed 191 LCSWs from 34 different states with diverse clinical specialties who advertised their services on the Internet. Participants were asked about specific supported and unsupported interventions used in their practices and the reasons for their choices and attitudes toward EBP. It was found that the majority reported using interventions that had empirical support. However, three-fourths of the sample also reported using at least one novel unsupported intervention in their practice. The use of novel unsupported interventions was found to be statistically more likely among women. The entire sample scored above the midpoint on the Evidence-Based Practice Attitude Scale (EBPAS), indicating an overall positive attitude toward EBP. Moreover, the present study found a weak but significant positive correlation between number of novel unsupported interventions used and EBPAS score. It appears that a positive attitude toward EBP and the use of novel unsupported interventions are not mutually exclusive. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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