Foundations of Clinical Science and Practice
Both medicine and behavioral health have witnessed an increasing emphasis on evidence-base practice. Medicine has embraced science -- a systematic set of tools for reducing human error -- as its epistemology and its method of advancing knowledge for about a century. It has made tremendous strides since then. The domains of psychotherapy and clinical assessment have more recently embraced science, although this approach remains controversial in many quarters and continues to meet with some resistance. Nevertheless, there is a growing consensus among researchers and practitioners that clinical practice must ultimately be guided by the best scientific evidence available, even as there are reasonable disagreements about how to operationalize and interpret this evidence. Richard McFall’s (1991) influential Manifesto for Clinical Science was a clarion call for adopting a scientific approach to clinical practice, and and several major professional organizations (e.g,, the Academy of Clinical Science) have embraced it.
One obstacle standing in the way of the movement toward evidence-based practice is the paucity of accessible texts to train students, assist practitioners, and guide researchers. Partly to fill this void, Lilienfeld and O’Donohue (2007) edited a 18 chapter test, The Great Ideas of Clinical Science, which is a compendium of the major principles of clinical science. However, a fuller treatment of these principles is essential, as it would allow a more complete exposition of the current status of each principle, incorporate more user-friendly case illustrations and implications for clinical practice, and permit a more detailed explication of the research agenda. The original Great Ideas book relied on well known and authoritative experts in each respective field.. These books could be texts in a variety of graduate level courses (Assessment, Introduction to Clinical, Research Methods, Cultural Issues, etc).
The aim of this series is to allow leading experts to comprehensively and authoritatively cover the most important principles of the clinical science paradigm in behavioral health. The allied aim is to make clinical science helpful and interesting to students, practicing clinicians, and researchers, as these groups will influence and set the tone for the field’s forthcoming generation. The books will review the relevant research, explicate the implications for clinical practice (with the use of both Principles of Clinical Science Practice and with case illustrations), and describe key unresolved research questions, which may be useful for guiding research projects.