Treatment Development Alternatives: Can we Find a Better Way?

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Clinical Psychology Review



Publication Date



The present paper argues that traditional approaches to treatment development, including a technological approach, a stage model, and existing inductive approaches such as functional analysis are inadequate in various ways. Treatment developing needs to focus more on theoretical development, practicality, and the fit with clients and practitioners. We argue that progress requires greater philosophical clarity, and steps to ensure a connection between philosophy of science assumptions and an analytic agenda which fits naturally with applied psychology. Theoretical progress requires distinguishing between clinical and basic models and harmonizing their relationship, and more focus on the manipulable context of action. Applied psychology needs to join in a common cause with basic psychology in domains of mutual interest, and develop basic analyses and mid-level terms that can be both scientifically progressive and clinically useful. Issues of practicality, capacity for dissemination, and public health impact need to be considered at the beginning and throughout treatment development. Issues of effectiveness, change processes, mediation, moderation, training, active components, and similar issues should be part of the evaluation system from the beginning. It is time to create a more coherent approach to treatment innovation.