Mission, Vision, Principles: Clinical Practice Guidelines Development*

The Advisory Steering Committee has developed the following summary of the guiding mission, vision and principles of APA's treatment guidelines development process.

  • Improve mental, behavioral and physical health by promoting clinical practices based on the best available evidence.

  • Identify interventions that are effective and can be implemented in the community.

  • Develop treatment guidelines that are scientifically sound, clinically useful, and informative for psychologists, other health professionals, training programs, policy makers and the public.

  • Improve mental, behavioral and physical health.
  • Improve patient experiences of care.
  • Improve the effectiveness, quality and value of healthcare services.
  • Inform shared decision-making between patients and health professionals.
  • Improve practice by health professionals.
  • Enhance training of psychologists and other health professionals.
  • Enhance competency of psychologists and other health professionals.
  • Educate health professionals, consumers and policy makers about effective interventions.
  • Identify gaps in the evidence base to be addressed by future research.
Operational Principles:
  • Focus on treatment efficacy and clinical utility for specific problems or disorders.
  • Utilize transparent rationale and procedures for guidelines development.
  • Solicit input from health professionals, consumers, educators, payers and policy makers.
  • Focus on prevention, treatment or management.
  • Address common factors and therapeutic relationships associated with effective interventions.
  • Consider the full range of research evidence.
  • Evaluate the quality of the evidence and identify areas where it is lacking.
  • Identify potential harms and benefits.
  • Consider outcomes across multiple domains.
  • Consider setting, sociodemographics, multicultural issues and patient preferences.
  • Acknowledge the clinician’s responsibility for individualized clinical care decisions.
  • Provide recommendations that are advisory rather than compulsory.
  • Update guidelines periodically to reflect developments in research and practice.


* Note: APA has adopted new terminology aimed at bringing its labeling of guidelines in accord with that of other health care organizations. The term "clinical treatment guidelines" has been replaced by "clinical practice guidelines." Further, the term "practice guidelines" has been replaced by "professional practice guidelines." Clinical practice guidelines are focused on specific disorders and interventions, while professional practice guidelines are mainly concerned with how practice is conducted with particular populations or in particular settings.