By: Sarah Bond
Clinical research is fundamental to the advancement and understanding of the field of psychology. It is important not to underestimate the significance that clinical research has had upon the development and implementation of psychological interventions. This is accomplished by randomly selecting a subset of the population to serve as a sample in which the potential effect(s) of a given variable are observed. Clinical research provides practitioners and researchers with insight into the effectiveness of the associated variable(s) under study. It helps us examine isolated factors that may not be clearly evident outside of a controlled setting. For example, we may examine the clinical treatment outcome of a specific intervention to determine whether or not it is an effective treatment for a given disorder.
In order to further advance standards of care, we must compare current treatment options to novel interventions. This challenges us to continuously advance our understanding of the most relevant and beneficial treatments available for our clients. We have an ethical obligation to ensure that we understand how a given intervention will likely influence the treatment outcome prior to determining the best approach to utilize when helping a client.
Clinical studies provide findings that allow practitioners to analyze data and generalize interpretations to help their clients. For instance, both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) have been indicated by clinical research to be efficacious treatments for anxiety disorders as well as many other conditions (e.g., depression, chronic pain, eating disorders). Clinical research provides a means for psychologists to determine the best type of treatment for their clients.
Most clinical studies utilize human participants. There are strict ethical guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA) that must be ensured prior to and throughout administration. For this reason, all academic research studies must submit a research proposal to be reviewed by the respective university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). In doing so, the IRB is obligated to determine whether or not a given study is ethical prior to implementation. During the study, participants are asked to sign an informed consent, which is similar to a contract. It thoroughly explains the intention and potential risks associated with the study. If any deception is used, it is mandatory to debrief participants following administration.
In essence, clinical research is important to providing optimal client care. It not only deepens our understanding of current practices, but it also helps us advance and learn about new treatment options that can potentially improve treatment outcomes. We depend upon clinical studies to help us understand how different variables influence our daily lives.
If you are interested in being a participant in clinical research, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/Paidresearchsandiego.