June 2, 1999

The Idiographic Application of Nomothetic, Empirically Based Treatments

Stephen N. Haynes, Joseph Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula, and Karl Nelson

Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice

Empirically supported treatments are nomothetically based and often operate by affecting causal variables for a behavior problem. Clients can have multiple behavior problems that are complexly interrelated, and different configurations of causal factors can affect the same, behavior problem across clients. Empirically based treatments vary in the degree to which their causal mechanisms are congruent with the idiographic networks of causal relations extant across clients. Consequently, the applicability of an empirically supported, nomothetically based treatment to a client is a function of the degree of congruence between the causal relations relevant to the client’s behavior problem and the causal relations targeted by the treatment.

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