Healing the research–practice split: Let’s start with me, by Barry E. Wolfe

Wolfe, Barry E.
Psychotherapy, Vol 49(2), Jun 2012, 101-108.
Special Section: Research-Practice Integration.

This article highlights many of the major issues that separate the researcher from the clinician and then suggests some possible solutions.

The format involves an enacted two-chair dialogue between my researcher side and my therapist side. The dialogue involves three phases.

  • Phase 1 involves each side presenting a straw man of the other’s position.
  • Phase 2 the two sides engage in a creative dialogue regarding many of the issues that divide them.
  • Phase 3 eventuates in a series of synthetic solutions that honors the concerns and core values of each side.

The solutions include:

  • (a) broadening the definition of clinically useful research
  • (b) researcher–practitioner collaboration
  • (c) appropriate dissemination of user-friendly research findings
  • (d) translating research findings into experience–near procedures such as the systematic case studies
  • (e) providing clinicians with easy access to a video archive of research therapies


It is encouraging to know mental health care practitioners are reaching out to researchers asking that they work together. Most importantly, making research results understandable for the non-research community will increase understanding for all of us.

Reading research results are boring. Most studies span 10 or more pages, single spaced, filled with dry writing that struggles to stay on the page – studies surely to make readers fall asleep if they are so inclined. It is simply the nature of research – data collecting, interpreting, and reporting – opinions have no place.

Those of us wanting to know and understand cutting-edge research findings must plow through these articles – often reading and re-reading, to comprehend what is being reported. In order to do so, there must be a minimal understanding of the scientific method, knowledge of terms, and defining new terms and concepts that often have acronyms specific to a particular research study.

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