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How is the Research Support for Therapies Determined?

The level of research support for each therapy is categorized into a five-level system, adapted by a group of expert clinical psychologists (Chambless et al., 1998).

Level One: Works Well; Well-established Treatments
These treatments have the strongest research support demonstrating they work well in children and/or adolescents with a specific disorder. These treatments have been studied by independent teams working at different research settings.

Level Two: Works; Probably Efficacious Therapies
Level Two therapies have strong research support, too, but they may not have been tested by different or independent teams, like Level One therapies.

Level Three: Might Work; Possibly Efficacious Therapies
Level Three therapies could be called “promising therapies.” There may be a study showing effectiveness, but overall confidence that a Level Three treatment works consistently is not as strong as it could be.

Level Four: Unknown/Untested; Experimental Therapies
Level Four therapies may be in use, but have not been studied carefully.

Level Five: Does Not Work/Tested But Did Not Work
Level Five therapies have been tested in well-designed studies and have not yet shown positive results or have been shown to make symptoms or behaviors worse.

Click here to learn even more about these definitions and how research support is evaluated.

Last updated on: Aug 01, 2017

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