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Hughes, BM
2008
April
How should clinical psychologists approach complementary and alternative medicine? Empirical, epistemological, and ethical considerations
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1
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RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED-TRIAL PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIALS LOW-BACK-PAIN GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOR THERAPY CORONARY-CARE UNIT UP NATIONAL-SURVEY OF-THE-LITERATURE SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS TAI-CHI
As complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices are often recommended for mental health problems, many clients in clinical psychology will be in receipt of such treatments from other practitioners. Some psychologists have argued that CAM and psychology are natural bedfellows, given their sharing of philosophies (e.g., holism), professional orientations (e.g., person-centeredness), and theoretical positions (e.g., mind-body connectionism). It has specifically been argued that the practices of CAM could productively be appropriated, or at least promoted, by clinical psychologists. However, other commentators have criticized CAM for comprising therapies that, by definition, are both intrinsically unscientific and lacking in empirical evidence. This article examines the current standing of CAM from empirical, epistemological, and ethical perspectives. CAM treatments are found to be based on heterogeneous epistemologies and to suffer from poor records in empirical efficacy research. Attention is given to possible psychological explanations for CAM's popularity in the face of poor evidence for efficacy. It is argued that, given the likely incompatibility of CAM with clinical psychology's positivist scientific ethos, CAM practices should not be integrated into clinical psychology at this time. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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DOI 10.1016/j.cpr.2007.09.005
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