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

Friday, September 22 2023

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. 

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TopicAgeSourcePublication DateLink
Anxiety DisordersChildren and AdolescentsAmerican Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (spell out the org)2020Clinical Practice Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Anxiety Disorders
 AdultsAmerican Academy of Family Physicians2015Diagnosis and Management of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in Adults
PTSDChildren and AdolescentsAACAP2010Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
 AdultsAmerican Psychological Association2017
 Veterans and MilitaryVA/DoD2017PTSD and Acute Stress Reaction Guidelines
DepressionChildren and AdolescentsAACAP2007Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Depressive Disorders
 All AgesAmerican Psychological Association2019
 Veterans and MilitaryVA/DoD2022Management of Major Depressive Disorder

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