From the Practice Directorate
COPPS Seeks Critical Incidents and Comments on Guidelines
The Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS), a committee of the Board of Professional Affairs, is in the process of reviewing and revising the Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings adopted as APA policy in 1994 (American Psychologist, 49(7), 677-680). COPPS requests input from the membership regarding this revision.
The Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Divorce Proceedings are intended for use by psychologists conducting child custody evaluation, specifically within the context of a parental divorce. These guidelines are designed to educate psychologists and provide a framework for making decisions regarding child custody. The current guidelines are based upon the previous version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 1992).
COPPS seeks your: 1) evaluation of the importance, relevance, and adequacy of the existing guidelines and the specific aspects of the document that are helpful and not helpful; 2) recommendations for specific changes to the existing guidelines or language, including descriptions of situations where you directly experienced difficulty or uncertainty in child custody cases, 3) specific questions about child custody about which you would like more information; 4) additional questions based on the contents of the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2002); 5) recommendations for additional guidelines or language to address any areas not covered in the current guidelines.
Comments are solicited regarding the overarching thrust of the guidelines and each specific guideline. Where a new guideline is proposed, we encourage that the proposal include suggested wording. Please address any suggested addition, deletion, or rewording of existing guidelines by referring to the guideline number (1 through 16) or, when a new guideline is suggested, as "New Guideline."
Roberta L. Nutt, Ph.D.
2005 Chair, Advisory Committee on Colleague Assistance
James R. Oraker, M.Div., Ph.D.
2006 Chair, Advisory Committee on Colleague Assistance
Lynn F. Bufka, Ph.D.
Director, Professional Development Demonstration Projects
The monograph entitled “Advancing Colleague Assistance in Professional Psychology” by the American Psychological Association’s Board of Professional Affairs Advisory Committee on Colleague Assistance (ACCA) with contributions from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) is now available electronically.
This monograph is the result of three years of effort and reflects current knowledge about the practice of colleague assistance. Up-to-date information about the incidence of impairment, professional pitfalls and the necessity for organized intervention is provided. Additionally, practical guidance for coordinating with relevant entities is outlined and extensive appendices provide detailed information regarding the logistics of establishing a program.
The intention of the monograph is to provide an understanding of the nature and extent of psychologists’ competence problems within a developmental context, and to provide models and strategies (programs and processes) that can address prevention and intervention. It has been the assumption throughout this process that addressing psychologists’ problems would be best accomplished through appropriate collaboration and understanding between the professional associations and the licensing boards. The material herein is not intended to be prescriptive, but to address the concerns and provide assistance to the relevant stakeholders that can be adapted to local use, respecting the existing forms and legislative mandates of each jurisdiction. The monograph and appendices can be found online at www.apa.org/practice/acca_monograph.html. APA members who pay the practice assessment can access the monograph, appendices and additional material about self care and colleague assistance at APA Practice. The monograph is being distributed through State, Provincial and Territorial Associations, APA divisions, ASPPB to its member licensing boards and to other interested and relevant groups, such as APPIC and training councils. You are welcome to distribute this memo and URL links in its entirety to any interested individuals. Please contact us if you have difficulties accessing the links.
As always, the members of ACCA are interested in hearing about psychologists’ experiences in developing and implementing colleague assistance programs within their own jurisdictions. ACCA is particularly interested in receiving materials from existing programs and identifying jurisdictions that are attempting to implement colleague assistance programs or are currently re-evaluating and modifying existing programs. If you have materials that would be helpful to others or want to contact ACCA, please do so by sending us an Email to and indicate “ACCA” in the subject line.