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The Two-Way Bridge between research & practice is a collaborative initiative between the American Psychological Association Division 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology) and Division 29 (Psychotherapy)

Responding to the concern about the long-standing gap between research and practice, the American Psychological Association Division 12 and Division 29 has developed a Two-Way Bridge initiative. The initiative is based on the two-way communication mechanism that physicians in the United States have, where they are able to provide feedback to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on problematic clinical experiences encountered in using a drug even though its efficacy has been demonstrated by clinical trials.

The completed surveys of the Two-Way Bridge initiative have focused on therapists’ use of empirically supported treatments for panic disorder, social anxiety, general anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  The next survey, which is currently under editorial review, deals with PTSD.  In each of these surveys, practicing therapists were asked to identify those variables they have encountered clinically that make it difficult to implement empirically supported treatments in clinical practice.

The specific variables varied from survey to survey, but reflected the following general categories:

            ● variables associated with the patient’s symptoms

            ● patient’s other problems or characteristics

            ● patient expectations

            ● patient beliefs about symptoms

            ● patient motivation

            ● social system (home, work, other)

            ● problems/limitations with the intervention procedure

            ● therapy relationship issues

The primary reason for targeting factors that undermined successful treatment in actual practice was to identify those variables that would provide important issues for therapy researchers to investigate. In addition, identifying factors that can interfere with successful treatment may also provide valuable information to practitioners that can enhance their clinical effectiveness.  The overall objective of this Two-Way Bridge initiative is to underscore the importance of having a mechanism whereby both the dissemination of relevant research and clinical observation can create a productive synergy, allowing both the clinician and researcher to have a voice in forming a consensus and in developing practice guidelines. 


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