Write a response to each discussion.
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The gap between research and practice has been an issue for many years. Although this schism has been reduced with the introduction of the Science-Practitioner Model (S-P), there are still many issues that exist in due to efficacy and validity when attempting to generalizing research to practice across settings (Erford, 2015). It is critical for counseling professionals to ensure that they are providing services that are effective and implemented in a cost-effective manner (Erford, 2015).
When considering closing this gap, it is essential that students, researchers, and practitioners are interacting with each other to understand the questions that arise in implementing therapy approaches so as to understand how to use research to determine the best suited approaches for individual clients and then how to teach students and practitioners how to administer the identified therapies in a way that they are just as effective when generalized to various populations in a variety of different counseling settings. Conducting research in such a way that efficacy and validity are of utmost focus will assist in creating a methodology for training up-coming professionals of how to replicate the therapies so that they can implement them in the most effective way possible (Kazdin, 2016). It is important that research is done to understand the effectiveness of different approaches in therapy in both qualitative and quantitative measures to increase the validity of the particular therapeutic approach (Erford, 2015).
Kazdin (2016) brings up an interesting suggestion stating that it may be more important to focus on the treatment gap as opposed to the research/practice schism. Kazdin suggests that it is a pointless fight to try to focus on what therapies are most effective and the divide that exists between research and implementation of the research outcomes when there is such a significant population that does not ever seek out treatment. In reflecting on Kazdin and Erford’s indications of these issues, education and training are useful not only in instructing the practitioners of what therapies to implement and how but also how to educate the general public of how, when and where to seek treatment.
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The research-practice disconnect addresses the problem of separation of counseling research and the practice of counselors. Once a sustained boundary between two separate facets, the gap has started closing because of the significant need for a research and practice merge. The disconnect is realized in Erford’s seven reasons why outcome research has been criticized. (2015, p. 66-67) Ultimately, the issue is between the individual and the group they may fall in. Of course everyone is their own individual, not a number. But this criticism is convoluted and misunderstood. Research seeks to find the most reliable and valid path for the clients’ individual needs. This means these procedures and tactics have worked for other individuals with the same types of problems. Over time, counselors and researchers alike have realized that the significant findings in research, along with the individual work of counselors, can help decipher the vast majority of clients and cases. Yet some worry that the empathetic care that comes with helping those clients and cases will be lost in the flood of data.
By integrating the commitment to research into mental health practice, the problem of previous research-practice disconnect has already started to solve itself. Counselors are given the advantage of looking at mental health on a broader scale. They don’t just see the individual, but humans as a whole. Even in The Sociological Spirit, a book that breaks down the fundamental nature of sociology, starts with the individual’s identity. (Babbie, 1994) The identity is multifaceted on its own, but the sociology book gives an overarching statement that the actions of individuals make up the larger picture. Counselors have an advantage when they can see that larger picture, and where an individual is placed in it. It helps the mental health field assess the best tactics to help those who suffer, because they can account for what works or does not work for a client. We have data that is reliable and replicable because of the research-practice merging. This scholarly advantage gives counselors a genuine interest because it provides more valid hope for their clients, and an informed general population as a whole.
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