An Evidence-Based Practice

Talk to A Scientist-Practitioner

Most clinical psychologists are trained to be both scientists and practitioners. We are supposed to adhere to scientific methods, procedures, and research in our day-to-day practice. Our goals are to:

  • use scientific methodology in our practice-decisions;

  • work with clients using scientifically valid methods, tools, and techniques;

  • inform clients of scientifically-based findings and approaches to their problems; and

  • conduct practice-based research.

private practice, psychologist, research, science
I do my best to adhere to the ideals and tenets of the scientist–practitioner model in my private practice. My overriding goal is to find an effective treatment for each client--one that is most likely to help a client achieve his or her goals. As a scientist-practitioner who adheres to a professional code of conduct, I can never promise a client that a treatment will work. Whenever possible, I offer a treatment that has been scientifically validated through extensive research. For example, I often use cognitive-behavior techniques because research demonstrates they are effective in treating depression, anxiety, and other emotional and behavioral problems.

Consistent with the scientist-practioner model, I have authored or co-authored
20 peer-reviewed scientific publications on stress, anxiety, depression, and cognitive therapy. I have also presented theoretical and empirical papers on these topics to psychologists at state and national conventions. And I have given talks to local community organizations on stress management, cognitive therapy for depression, and cognitive therapy for anxiety.

So you can see that I have the utmost respect for the scientist-practitioner model.

Having said this, I must also acknowledge that no psychologist has ever been smart enough to develop an integrated, grand theory of the human mind--much less support it with research.

So I try to be opened-minded and draw on four other sources of guidance in my practice:

  • 27 years of clinical experience;

  • theories that may not be well-researched, but still make us more intelligible than we would be without them;

  • the unique characteristics, situations, and preferences of my clients; and

  • feedback from my clients.

Let me comment on how useful feedback from my clients has been. When I worked at PepsiCo, we hired psychologists to train our executives in negotiating skills. One of them wrote the following definition of "skill" on a chalkboard:

Skill = Knowledge + Practice + Feedback.

That little piece of wisdom has stayed with me ever since. I've made use of it in my practice by asking my clients for negative as well as positive feedback. As a result, I know I have become a more skilled, helpful psychologist over the years. So I am very thankful to my clients for their feedback.

I strive for wisdom by acknowledging what I don't know while being guided by what I do. This is what it means to me to be a scientist-practitioner in an evidence-based practice.

Gregory Garamoni, Ph.D.

Call 285-4229 for an appointment

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