Academic journal article Best Practices in Mental Health

Assessment and Treatment Are like Gloves to Hands: They Have to Fit

Academic journal article Best Practices in Mental Health

Assessment and Treatment Are like Gloves to Hands: They Have to Fit

Article excerpt

It has been ten years now since Best Practices in Mental Health was launched, and we hope that the articles in the past twenty issues have been as exciting and innovative as the field of best practice has been itself. One major change has been the gradual shift from associating best practices with evidence-based practices. They are, in fact, distinguishable. Evidence-based practice is best practice, but for some conditions and clinical circumstance, the best practice may not yet be evidence based; or at least it may be supported by less than robust empirical evidence. For many mental health conditions, such as clinical depression and debilitating anxiety, there are indeed practices that are evidence based and are the treatment protocol of choice. For some other conditions, such as trauma within military families, the best practices are emerging. Inevitably, the issue of evidenced-based practice and best practice is the probative value of the evidence. Is it persuasive?

One area in best practices that has not changed is the essential link between the clinical assessment and the resulting intervention. Even the same mental health conditions come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often resulting from their social circumstances. As such, the assessment remains the critical start to best practice by determining that the form of therapy fits the client's particular fuss. The form must fit the fuss.

In this issue we illustrate this concept with two articles on trauma. One is on the assessment of primary and secondary trauma by Sprang and Craig, and another is on the best practice for work with children exposed to trauma, by Kramer and colleagues. Both should contribute to effective work with such a critical social problem. The need for best practices with trauma is likely to increase as our soldiers march back home from war and they and their families adjust to civilian life. …

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