Levels of Evidence - Empirically Supported Treatment (EST)

the word EVIDENCE.

Our workshops, certificate programs and other course descriptions provide information about the Empirically Supported Treatment (research supported) that the training content includes. Some trainings may focus on a single treatment model. Others may draw upon several models with varying levels of ESTs or reference content based on the best research available at this time.  When there are reputable websites that describe the research or level of EST for the training content, the description of the training will provide a link to that web page. In instances where this is not available or the content includes more than one level of research as described on this page, the describe will reference the level or levels you see below. Our goal is to be transparent in assisting you to make informed decisions as you select training that best meets your needs. For trainings that do not involve treatment content, there may be related research and the training description will reflect the level(s) of this research.

Evidence-based Practice (EBP) is  “…the framework that is used to promote adoption of best practices informed by research”- ASWB. It is a decision process completed by looking at the best research available including Empirically Supported Treatment; existing resources including practitioner expertise; environment and organizational context; and the client’s characteristics, needs, values and preferences. The intersection of these components is Evidence-Based Practice (EBP).  EBP prefers stronger evidence  and encourages clinicians to critically appraise research information. Originally, EBP came from the medical profession and has expanded to child welfare, psychology, nursing, and other disciplines. The social work profession has not yet created its own definition. 

American Psychological Association Levels of EST

After reviewing several ways of describing levels of Empirically Supported Treatment (EST), we selected the following levels to incorporate into descriptions for our training content. Please be aware that not all treatments are ethically appropriate for randomized controlled trial research, funding may not be available for the needed level of research, research may be difficult to locate or not rigorous and relevant, etc. Therefore, some treatments may never be able to rise to the highest level of research. Research outcomes can also change over time as new research occurs. In addition, reputable sites that identify levels of evidence do not always agree on the level. A link to website resources about empirically supported treatment or evidence-based treatment is at the bottom of this page

The levels we are using are adopted from an Empirically Supported Treatment system developed by Chamblee’s et al. (1998) for the American Psychological Association Division 12 Task Force on Psychological Interventions. This system was later articulated in more detail in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Southam-Gerow & Prinstein, 2013). Use the link below to open the details on the levels.