APA developed Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women in response to a variety of concerns including that for years, mental health research had only been conducted by men and with male subjects, says Lynn Bufka, PhD, APA's assistant executive director of practice research and policy. Gender bias in psychological practice was first documented in 1975, and the guidelines highlighted ways in which these biases affect women.
In 2005, APA's Board of Directors provided discretionary funds to support a planning meeting for the development of practice guidelines for working with boys and men. From there, Div. 51 (Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity) provided support for a task force to develop guidelines that reflected the growing body of research and practice evidence on working with boys and men that could substantially improve the delivery of services to this population.
The task force created a 160-page draft of practice guidelines, which cover a range of issues, including male challenges in seeking help, risk-taking behavior, and institutional biases, says Frederic E. Rabinowitz, PhD, who chairs the group. The draft was submitted for formal review in accordance with policy to APA's Board of Professional Affairs and Committee on Professional Practice and Standards. All APA boards and committees, divisions, state, provincial and territorial associations and members of the public will have an opportunity to provide comments and input on the revised draft. These comments will be incorporated into a final draft by the task force in advance of final review by APA's Board of Directors and Council.