How do components of evidence-based psychological treatment cluster in practice?. A survey and cluster analysis

Elizabeth V. Gifford*, Sara Tavakoli, Kenneth R. Weingardt, John W. Finney, Heather M. Pierson, Craig S. Rosen, Hildi J. Hagedorn, Joan M. Cook, Geoff M. Curran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Evidence-based psychological treatments (EBPTs) are clusters of interventions, but it is unclear how providers actually implement these clusters in practice. A disaggregated measure of EBPTs was developed to characterize clinicians' component-level evidence-based practices and to examine relationships among these practices. Survey items captured components of evidence-based treatments based on treatment integrity measures. The Web-based survey was conducted with 75 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) substance use disorder (SUD) practitioners and 149 non-VA community-based SUD practitioners. Clinician's self-designated treatment orientations were positively related to their endorsement of those EBPT components; however, clinicians used components from a variety of EBPTs. Hierarchical cluster analysis indicated that clinicians combined and organized interventions from cognitive-behavioral therapy, the community reinforcement approach, motivational interviewing, structured family and couples therapy, 12-step facilitation, and contingency management into clusters including empathy and support, treatment engagement and activation, abstinence initiation, and recovery maintenance. Understanding how clinicians use EBPT components may lead to improved evidence-based practice dissemination and implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Evidence-based practices
  • Implementation
  • Psychotherapy
  • Substance use disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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