The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Evidence-Based Treatment and Knowledge Management: Dilemmas for the Social Work Profession

Sunday, January 20, 2013: 8:45 AM-10:30 AM
Nautilus 4 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
Cluster: Mental Health
Richard P. Barth, PhD, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Bruce Chorpita, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, Virginia Strand, DSW, Fordham University and Christopher M. Layne, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Only a small fragment of known effective treatments for children and adolescents are incorporated into clinical practice undertaken by social workers.  Compelling alternatives to the implementation of evidence-based treatment (EBT) are emerging across disciplines, and interdisciplinary collaboration may become increasingly important to address challenges faced by the field.    Panelists will engage in a discussion of the question:  “What positive and negative implications do the issues and challenges raised by the following three 3 overlapping issues have for social work practice, research and education? 

The three issues are  1) the proliferation of EBTs,  2) common elements research and dialogue taking place within the mainstream child and adolescent psychotherapy and social work  literature, and  3) the lack of decision-making guidelines on how to select and train on EBTs.   While complex, these issues have potential positive and negative implications for social work as professionals seek strategies for knowledge management and knowledge transfer around best practice.

An interdisciplinary panel will set the stage for discussion of the questions identified above. The first panelist will discuss the research efforts to infer some of the general principles underlying effective treatment procedures informing existing care (common elements research) for childhood disorders  to enhance effectiveness of current “ treatment as usual “  (Chorpita & Regan, 2009) as well as EBT “adaptability” as the basis for a modularized approach (Weisz, Chorpita, Palinkas, et al, 2011).  

The foundation underlying the development of the Core Curriculum on Child Trauma, and the move in that development from a reliance on an “expert consensus” model to one based on identification of common elements in trauma treatment manuals using empirical method will be presented.  This will be followed by a presentation of  the results of the analysis of 26 child and adolescent trauma treatment manuals using a trauma-specific coding scheme.  Findings reflect  a focus on the commonalities found across a variety of domains, including safety planning, attention to the social environment, “core” intervention treatment strategies and trauma processing.

The discussion with the audience will be led by a panelist from a school of  social work  which has a course on common elements of practice and where research on common elements of engagement and placement prevention is underway.  The following will be addressed: 

1)                  What role can and should social work research play in the development of common elements across fields of practice?  What are the implications for practice and social work education?

2)                  Does the effort to identify common elements in the fields of childhood disorders and trauma have applicability across other fields of practice for social work?

3)                  Do we need more evidence-based social work treatments/interventions for specific populations and problems (or are they generally robust across populations)? What is the role of social work research in design and implementation  of evidence-based practices with specific populations?

4)                  What other mechanism for organizing research results might be helpful for the effective transfer of knowledge/dissemination?  (Regional research client databases?  Practice guidelines?  Meta analyses?)

See more of: Roundtables