Determination and Documentation of the Need for Practice Guidelines1

Introduction

In August 2001, the American Psychological Association (APA) Council of Representatives approved as APA policy the "Criteria for practice guideline development and evaluation" (APA, 2002a), developed by the Board of Professional Affairs (BPA) Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS). The present document was developed in response to a request from the APA Board of Directors that BPA develop a document expanding on Section 2.2 of the Criteria, which indicates that practice guidelines should be written only when there is a clearly demonstrated and documented need. The Board of Professional Affairs further requested that COPPS consider the specific legal, public, and professional needs that may justify the development of guidelines and the related sources of documentation.

Developers of practice guidelines should review the Criteria carefully at the beginning of the project and frequently thereafter to help ensure consistency of the guidelines with APA policy. Note that this document is not intended to be a stand-alone document, but rather to be understood and used in the context of the Criteria. The intent of this document is to provide additional information to developers of guidelines related to the demonstration and documentation of the need for practice guidelines in the area of their interest.

1This document was developed by the Board of Professional Affairs Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS). Members of COPPS during the development of this document were Cynthia A. Sturm (chair, 2004), Kristin A. Hancock (chair, 2002 and 2003), Armand R. Cerbone, Victor de La Cancela, Mary A. Connell, William E. Foote, Michele M. Galietta, Larry C. James, (BPA member of COPPS 2004), Leigh W. Jerome (BPA member of COPPS, 2002 and 2003), Sara J. Knight, David C. Mohr, Carolyn M. West, and Philip H. Witt. COPPS is grateful for the support and guidance of BPA, particularly to BPA chairs Jalie A. Tucker (2004), Lisa R. Grossman (2003), and Sandra L. Shullman (2002). COPPS also acknowledges the contributions of APA staff members Geoffrey M. Reed, Christopher J. McLaughlin, Laura Kay-Roth, and Ernestine Penniman.
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