Substance and Alcohol Use Disorders

How were treatments selected?

The Empirically Supported Treatments (EST) Workgroup of the Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50) of the American Psychological Association conducted the selection of treatments for this section of the website. We focused solely on psychological treatments (not medications), given the mission of the Society for Addiction Psychology. The workgroup chair was Lisa M. Najavits, PhD; members were Greg Brigham, PhD, and Nancy A. Piotrowski, PhD; and the coordinator was Matthew Worley, BA. (Harry K. Wexler, Ph.D. also formerly served as a workgroup member; and Erika Litvin, Ph.D. also formerly served as a coordinator.)

The EST Workgroup used a multi-step process, as detailed below:

1. Open and on-going solicitation of treatments. Treatments were solicited through various notices to listservs, newsletters, and web postings. (To send a treatment for consideration, please email Division50.ebp@gmail.com for instructions.)
2. Clear criteria. The Chambless and Hollon (1998a, 1998b) criteria were used, in keeping with the Division 12 website. To help verify the criteria, we constructed an EST worksheet to be used for each treatment under consideration.
3. Peer review. The EST Workgroup obtained peer reviewers from the Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50) membership, via open calls on listservs and newsletters. Each treatment was reviewed by at least two peer reviewers.
4. Final review. The EST Workgroup performed a final review to confirm that the two peer reviewers had correctly applied the Chambless and Hollon criteria, were in agreement, or obtained additional information as needed to verify the criteria (e.g., from the reviewers, scientific articles, and/or the individual who had submitted the treatment for consideration).
5. Appeal process. The conclusion about each treatment ("not sufficient evidence to post to the website," "modest support," or "strong support") was relayed via letter to the individual who had originally submitted the treatment. An appeal process was described if the individual wanted to challenge the conclusion about the treatment and provide additional necessary evidence.
6. Treatment description for posting to the website. Each treatment description was written by the individual who submitted the treatment for consideration or, if there was more than one submission, the treatment developer, with edits as needed by the EST Workgroup.
7. Final approval by the Society of Addiction Psychology board. The final version of each treatment (conclusion and description) was sent to the board for voting approval.

In sum, we sought to create consistent and careful reviews of each treatment, using a multi-layered process and striving for inclusiveness and strong scientific standards.