Therapeutic efficacy can be defined as the effectiveness of a particular therapeutic method. Just as problems of the body can vary in a seemingly endless way, so can treatments. Some people swear by the Western practice of scientific medicine, usually involving pharmaceutical elements or proven modalities. Others prefer more experimental or Eastern approaches, and many types of therapies fall into this second category. Therapeutic efficacy is largely dependent upon numerous factors, including the type of therapy, duration, skills of the therapist, and dedication of the person receiving therapy.
Therapy is a broad term describing any form of treatment aimed to control, prevent, or treat a health problem. Although this seems to encompass every aspect of treatment, even pharmaceutical, therapies generally describe modalities outside of regularly taking a medication. Some common therapies include work with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor, as well as those more physical in nature, like acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, or massage therapy. These are usually repeatable measures and often take time to see positive effects.
The type of therapy is a major factor affecting therapeutic efficacy. Some types of therapy have been proven to be more effective than others. For example, there is objective evidence supporting alcoholic anonymous therapy and a decrease in drinking problems. Other methods, like acupuncture, seem to be more subjective in results. Although many supporters believe in acupuncture's therapeutic effects, it lacks the objective evidence backing up the therapeutic efficacy of this Eastern practice.
Just as there are good and bad lawyers, great and terrible doctors, and life-changing teachers among apathetic ones, the effectiveness of a therapy is often at the hands of the therapist. Some persons seem to have a knack for healing and a genuine interest in helping others coupled with an extensive knowledge and adept skill set that helps them help people. Others may have fallen into the health care profession by accident and may possess an apathetic haste in their practice.
The person receiving therapy is equally important to its effectiveness as the therapist or method being used. This is because it is up to each individual to follow the instructions of the therapist. Patients who need therapy and have it scheduled once a week for three months need to show up in order to achieve the desired results. If a therapist offers suggestions for things to work on or lifestyle changes, it is important for a patient to take these seriously.
Another factor is the duration of therapy. Therapy can be expensive, and there are an increasing amount of insurance issues preventing people from long-term therapeutic options without breaking the bank. It is not smart to sacrifice quality for inexpensiveness; however, alternatives may be limited.