Does your therapist believe in science?
How data and science make therapy better
Therapy is broken. It is a medical profession that too often ignores scientific methods and data-based processes that significantly improve the effectiveness of treatment. At Kip, we’re changing this by rebuilding the therapy process so that science and data guide every decision a therapist makes.
Therapists who use scientifically-backed methods see better treatment outcomes. Research shows that collecting feedback and data throughout treatment, called Measurement-Based Care (MBC), results in better care. Despite that, only 11% of psychologists practice MBC with their clients. Similarly, not all types of therapy are backed by scientific research. Evidence-based psychotherapy practices (EBPP) such as Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) have been proven effective in clinical trials, which is why they’re primary methods of treatment used by Kip therapists.
“Kip therapists use the most advanced therapy methods backed by science.”
Evidence-based practices like CBT work so well, in part, because they encourage therapists to collect, analyze and react to data. Data in therapy comes in many forms; it includes what you say in session as well as your body language and the sound of your voice as you say it. It’s the thoughts that you have throughout the week, which on Kip you can track and share directly with your therapist. It’s the symptoms and feelings you have, which can be evaluated weekly with surveys like the PHQ-9 and DASS-21. An evidence-based therapist routinely collects data to find out whether the treatment is working. Data can also tell a therapist when treatment isn’t working, so they can adjust your care plan.
Therapy is an iterative process just like any medical treatment, which is why collecting data is so important. If you went to a doctor for an infection, your doctor would follow a routine process of collecting and analyzing data until you got better. You’d take a blood test, get a diagnosis, and take some pills. The doctor would then evaluate whether the pills worked with tests or feedback, and alter treatment if you still had the infection.
Therapy works–or should work–in a similar way. Your therapist gives you the treatment that is most likely to work based on research and presenting symptoms. If you’re using a service like Kip, where your treatment progress is tracked, your therapist can easily identify if treatment is or isn’t working and adjust your care.
Therapy is a tool that really works and the use of data makes it even more effective. For most people, therapy is also something that should have an end date. Your therapists’ goal is to get you to a place where you don’t need to go to therapy every week. A CBT therapist will teach you skills that you can use outside of the office to manage life’s ups and downs; they want you to eventually become your own therapist. You may benefit from a booster session every once and a while, but your therapist wants you to get better and become self-reliant.
“Evidence-based therapists focus on getting you better teaching you skills that you can use on your own, so that eventually you can stop going to therapy.”
That’s another reason why evidence-based therapy like CBT is so valuable: you are learning to cope on your own. There’s a huge difference in spending an hour talking with someone to relieve stress versus talking to an evidence-based therapist who helps you build practices and habits that are going to help you make progress outside the therapy room. The therapy room should be where you’re learning skills, learning about yourself, and learning how to become your better self.
At Kip, we’re pioneering a science-backed and data-based approach to therapy. No other health field works the way therapy does right now. A heart surgeon would never choose a less effective method or less advanced treatment because it’s not what they learned in school. Therapists, like other health professionals, should employ the scientifically-backed techniques that research shows gets results. Kip therapists use data to inform treatment, evidence-based practices, and see that that their patients get better. That’s the Kip difference.
Originally published at blog.hellokip.com on March 27, 2017.