A debate is brewing following a report released late last year charging that many mental health practitioners use outdated, unsubstantiated treatment methods.

On the one side are academics who say that too many therapists favor personal experience when establishing a treatment approach rather than scientifically proven methods. In particular, they say that cognitive behavioral therapy, which is the most studied method in a therapist’s tool bag, gets far too little use.

What’s especially troubling is that many clinical psychologists freely admit that they don’t monitor current research or scientific advances, researchers reported in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest in November.

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But, practicing psychologists argue that cognitive behavioral therapy isn’t for everyone and that experience is a better gauge for success. They emphasize the importance of establishing a therapist-patient relationship.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured approach which relies on increasing a patient’s exposure to troubling situations over time to teach them how to cope. Once a patient learns to cope, the therapist helps them uncover the root of the problem. Conversely, therapists traditionally start treatment by talking through the crux of a patient’s problem.

An increasing body of scientific evidence indicates that the new style of therapy is overwhelmingly successful and works far faster than more traditional approaches. Patients typically respond to cognitive behavioral therapy in 12 to 16 sessions.

Nonetheless, therapists say the research is deceiving since cognitive behavioral therapy is a structured program that can be more easily studied than traditional psychotherapies. Moreover, they charge that insurance companies are behind the push toward cognitive behavioral therapy since the practice is cheaper, reports the Los Angeles Times. To read more click here.