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Where Has All the Psychology Gone?: A Critical Review of Evidence-Based Psychological Practice in Correctional Settings

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 19 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2014 Pages: 435-446
Theresa A. Gannon; Tony Ward
Date Published
August 2014
12 pages
This review of clinical psychological practices examines ways in the tenets of evidence-based practice have been neglected by mental health professionals.
In 2006, the American Psychological Association officially endorsed the EBP (Evidence-based Practice) as the governing model of best practice applied psychology. The three central principles of EBP are: 1) research evidence is fundamental to guiding good psychological practices; 2) clinical expertise and decision making should be used by applying research to clinical situations; and 3) client individuality in the form of preferences and values should be considered when allocating interventions. The paper reviews clinical psychological practices to determine whether practices are using the tenets of EBP, and if not, how this neglect of the EBP model is seriously eroding the identity of psychology. The paper presents an overview of the EBP model, discusses why it is superior to the RNR (risk-needs-responsibility) model, and how certain components of EBP have been neglected by clinical psychologists. These missing components include lack of individualized focus and flexibility and neglect of these factors within a correctional setting, stringent manualization, exclusive focus on offending behavior, and exclusive focus on security and risk. This lack of use of the EBP has led to an increase in the dual relationship problem that is the tension psychologists experience as a result of engaging in psychological practice while also obliging the risk and security policies of correctional settings. This paper offers several recommendations for bringing the EBP model back into correctional psychology. References