January 20, 2023

Clinical Practice Guidelines: The Gold Standard for Evidence-Based Care

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As a mental health professional, you’re focused on providing the best care possible to clients to help them better manage their mental health and reach their therapy goals. But how do you ensure you’re taking the best approach to care for each client’s individual needs? Look to Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs). 

Read on to learn more about CPGs, how they assist in the delivery of quality, evidence-based care, and how to implement them into your practice. Plus, learn the vital role CPGs play in driving better outcomes at SonderMind. 

How Clinical Practice Guidelines drive optimal care 

So, what exactly are CPGs, and how are they used to ensure the best possible care for clients? 

CPGs are evidence-based recommendations on how to diagnose and treat an identified clinical challenge or mental health condition. They also offer an assessment of the potential benefits and harms of a particular treatment. This information helps providers determine the best care for clients based on evidence, while also taking into account their unique needs. 

CPGs are considered the “gold standard” of controlled clinical research trials for talk therapy and pharmacology interventions, and are developed through a systematic review of evidence by expert clinicians and methodologists who are not associated with SonderMind. This systematic review includes: 

  • Examining and critiquing the evidence
  • Evaluating the overall certainty of the evidence
  • Formulating evidence based-recommendations
  • Defining the strength of recommendations

CPGs are updated when new scientific findings could impact the recommendations. 

Implementing CPGs into your practice

Using CPGs helps ensure you’re meeting the generally accepted standards of care and following clinical best practices. Effectively implementing CPGs into your practice, however, goes beyond just your own review of the guideline recommendations. 

To help make sure you’re taking the best approach to treatment for each client’s unique needs, it’s important to also share CPG recommendations with clients. This means discussing information regarding treatment interventions, outcomes, and side effects, and working collaboratively with clients to develop a treatment plan based on research evidence, accurate expectations, and their personal values. This is important, as engaging patients in their care is essential to improving health outcomes. 

New and updated CPGs are published regularly and shared by organizations and publications such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The American Academy of Family Physicians, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the American Psychological Association. Often, you can find practice guidelines by searching the websites of institutes within the National Institutes of Health network

Using CPGs at SonderMind can help improve outcomes 

As an evidence-based organization, SonderMind is committed to ensuring our providers use the latest clinical practice guidelines in the treatment and care of clients. We have aligned with CPGs in the diagnostic areas of anxiety, depression, and PTSD for all ages and for treatment provided to veteran clients. We encourage and recommend the use of the below CPGs, and share these guidelines with our providers to help drive better outcomes through the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based care. 

Topic Age Source Publication Date Link
Anxiety Disorders Children and Adolescents American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (spell out the org) 2020 Clinical Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Anxiety Disorders
Adults American Academy of Family Physicians 2015 Diagnosis and Management of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in Adults
PTSD Children and Adolescents AACAP 2010 Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Adults American Psychological Association 2017 https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline
Veterans and Military VA/DoD 2017 PTSD and Acute Stress Reaction Guidelines
Depression Children and Adolescents AACAP 2007 Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Depressive Disorders
All Ages American Psychological Association 2019 https://www.apa.org/depression-guideline
Veterans and Military VA/DoD 2022 Management of Major Depressive Disorder

Redesigning mental health care

At SonderMind, we’re on a mission to redesign mental and behavioral health care by improving access, utilization, and outcomes. Gain peace of mind knowing that you have end-to-end support for your practice, from a clinical strategy rooted in evidence-based care, exclusive resources and technology, to career development opportunities.

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American Academy of Family Physicians. (2017, December). Clinical practice guidelines manual. https://www.aafp.org/family-physician/patient-care/clinical-recommendations/cpg-manual.html

American Psychiatric Association. (n.d.). Clinical practice guidelines. https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/clinical-practice-guidelines

American Psychological Association. (2017, July). Placing clinical practice guidelines in context. https://www.apa.org/about/offices/directorates/guidelines/context

APA Practice Research and Policy Staff and APA Science Staff. (2020, August 14). Practice guidelines: what’s been done and what’s coming. American Psychological Association. https://www.apaservices.org/practice/news/guidelines

Aycock, R., Krist, A., Longo, D., & Tong, S. (2020, February 3). Engaging patients in decision-making and behavior change to promote prevention. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6996004/ 

Badhiwala, J., Fehlings, M., Garwood, P., Nater, A., Tetreault, L., & Wilson, J. (2019, May 8). Development and implementation of clinical practice guidelines: an update and synthesis of the literature with a focus in application to spinal conditions. SAGE Publishing. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2192568219831689

Barreto, J., Carvalho V., Pereira, V., Silva, S., & Zanghelini, F. (2022, January 24). Strategies for the implementation of clinical practice guidelines in public health: an overview of systematic reviews. BMC. https://health-policy-systems.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12961-022-00815-4

McKay, D. (2017, November 26). Clinical practice guidelines. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-fears-and-anxieties/201711/clinical-practice-guidelines

Michigan State University. (n.d.). Finding practice guidelines: home. https://libguides.lib.msu.edu/practiceguidelines

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