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Temas em Psicologia

Print version ISSN 1413-389X


LEONARDI, Jan Luiz  and  MEYER, Sonia Beatriz. Evidence of efficacy and translational overconfidence in clinical behavioral analysis. Temas psicol. [online]. 2016, vol.24, n.4, pp. 1465-1477. ISSN 1413-389X.

The emergence of behavioral therapies followed the same strategy that had proved successful in other fields of science: extrapolating principles, which were empirically validated in basic research, to the solution of human problems. However, the mere transposition of this knowledge to different types of clinical problems - despite the importance of these principles for therapeutic practice - does not guarantee a priori effectiveness of the intervention. One of the defining characteristics of applied behavior analysis is the strong commitment to the empirical basis of its intervention procedures. That being said, the purpose of this article is to assess the current status of the evidence of efficacy in a branch of applied behavior analysis - clinical behavior analysis or behavior-analytic therapy - and to offer a critical reflection on the commonly widespread view that these therapies are scientifically sound. To accomplish these goals, this paper clarifies terms such as Behavior Therapy, Clinical Behavior Analysis and Behavior-Analytic Therapy, summarizes the empirical evidence for the different types of therapies that are encompassed by clinical behavior analysis, and puts forth the argument that the field suffers from "translational overconfidence" (the belief that data from basic science are sufficient to support intervention procedures).

Keywords : Behavior therapy; behavior analysis; clinical psychology; psychotherapy; evidence-based practice.

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