Systematic Treatment assumes that scientific research is the most useful and valid foundation on which to establish both the efficacy and the effectiveness of an intervention. As a research-informed system, the Innerlife STS team views sound scientific research as absolutely critical to establishing a credible treatment and to preventing fraud and misuse of treatment procedures.
There are many different ways of viewing mental health problems and their treatment. Even scientists may differ from one another in the weight given to those factors that accompany and produce change. Among scientists, these variations are often expressed in the objectives of research and the particular factors that serve as a focus for seeking the most effective way to produce and enhance change.
Rather than representing a new therapy model, the empirical approach of the Innerlife STS team has ensured that our product is an open system in which all research-grounded dimensions of patients, therapists, processes, and treatments could be incorporated as available research articulates and validates the principles that underlay their application. As a result, the principles that comprise the application engine of the Innerlife STS system can be modified and extended almost limitlessly as new principles are discovered. The guiding criteria of the Innerlife STS team are:
- The principles are well founded in sound research methodology
- The underlying constructs can be reliably measured
- The guiding principles successfully predict a patient’s or a group of like-patient’s course of treatment, prognosis, and outcome
Clinic-specific norms promise to refine treatment decisions and to more accurately predict the course of change. Likewise, such specificity of clinic-based norms can improve the case mix decisions that are made to improve extant treatment programs.
Some approaches to both science and application of mental health treatment view clinically significant human problems as reflecting either a chemical imbalance or a dysfunction in the structure and function of the nervous system. Such a view of clinical problems leads to emphasis on treatments that are derived from biological and psychopharmacological research. In turn, they lead to the use of research paradigms and procedures that focus quite specifically and narrowly on the intervention itself, seeing the intervention—the pill or other technical procedures—as the explanation for any change that is observed. This approach works well in medicine where diseases are confined to well known and understood biological organs and treatments can concentrate specifically upon changing these particular organs.
Comparatively, in behavioral health conditions, the problems and diseases being treated are often able to be observed only through one’s behavior. The problems seldom arise from specific and isolated organs and almost always change when the person’s environment or living situation changes. Rarely is it possible to treat a behavioral health problem simply by prescribing a medication and sending the patient home to recover. Fears and defenses, interpersonal struggles, and even the illness itself may reduce the patient’s cooperation and attenuate needed change.
In order to understand behavioral and mental health problems and treatments, physical events, chemical imbalances, and structural changes must be considered within the context of situational factors, environmental events, prior experiences, learned ways of viewing things, hopes, and fears, in order to ensure an effective treatment. The Innerlife STS system has been designed and built with these scientific principles and mental health realities in mind.