Use of research in clinical psychology: methodological issues, practices and ethics

Despite the large sums annually allocated to research and the definition of the psychologist as a scientist, research remains underused in clinical psychology. The issue of the use of research in this field can provoke highly emotional arguments which cannot fail to influence the knowledge transfer (KT) process and its efforts to improve clinical practices. An exploration of the issues involved in this debate is an inevitable part of the study and constructive evolution of KT. This study consists of a critical review of psychology articles on the debate from 1995 on. The main keywords (both French and English) used in the first review concern the use of research, the controversy, evidence, empirically validated treatments and KT in psychology. The issues identified as central to the debates, such as the inequality of the preferred methodologies, data on the efficacy and risks of psychotherapeutic treatments and the debate specific to psychoanalysis, were substantiated and discussed in the second review. The content of the arguments presented for and against the use of research reaches empirical saturation. It is argued that clinical psychology research is necessary and useful, and a discussion of the social issues linked to its use is then presented.

Project team members:

  • Stéphanie Rinfret