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Psychol Bull. 2005 May;131(3):418-26, discussion 427-33.

Jousting with straw men: comment on Westen, Novotny, and Thompson-Brenner (2004).

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Judge Baker Children's Center, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02120-3225, USA.


Empirically supported treatments (ESTs) do not cure every patient, and the randomized trial is not a flawless methodology. Upon these often-noted and widely accepted points, D. Westen, C. M. Novotny, and H. Thompson-Brenner (2004a; see record 2004-15935-005) built a critique of ESTs and EST research. However, important work developing effective, clinically relevant treatments for serious problems was omitted from the Westen et al. (2004a) review. Little documentation was offered for the purported "assumptions" of EST methodology that Westen et al. (2004a) criticized; and different review standards were applied to studies supporting versus those disagreeing with Westen et al.'s (2004a) views. Finally, the correlational research designs proposed as a remedy by Westen et al. (2004a) have far more serious weaknesses than randomized trials, thoughtfully applied to real-world clinical care.

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