APA Guidelines for Practitioners
APA has approved a variety of practice guidelines and related criteria as APA policy in such areas as multicultural practice, child custody evaluations and treatment of gay, lesbian and bisexual clients. These guidelines are intended to educate practitioners and provide recommendations about professional conduct. As such, they are useful tools for psychologists in practice to develop and maintain competencies and/or learn about new practice areas.
APA Guidelines for Practitioners
The goals of these guidelines are to improve the quality of forensic psychological services; enhance the practice and facilitate the systematic development of forensic psychology; encourage a high level of quality in professional practice; and encourage forensic practitioners to acknowledge and respect the rights of those they serve. These guidelines are intended for use by psychologists when engaged in the practice of forensic psychology and may also provide guidance on professional conduct to the legal system, and other organizations and professions.
Guidelines for the Practice of Parenting Coordination, (PDF, 210KB)
These guidelines are designed to address an emerging area of practice known as Parenting Coordination. The complex and hybrid parenting coordination model continues to be refined in professional deliberations about the role, emerging statutes and case law, and court and local rules and regulations governing Parenting Coordination practice at the local jurisdictional level. These guidelines intend to provide a framework and direction for professional conduct and decision making. Although designed for psychologists, these guidelines may prove helpful and relevant to other professions as well.
Record Keeping Guidelines (PDF, 84KB)
The APA Record Keeping Guidelines (RKG) have been revised to take into account changes in practice such as electronic record keeping as well as legislative and regulatory requirements including HIPAA. The new RKG provide guidance in such areas as preserving the context of records, organization and level of detail, and retention time and records disposal.
Applying the APA Record Keeping Guidelines in Clinical Practice (Flash)
These guidelines address what are commonly termed "child custody" evaluations, involving disputes over decision-making, caretaking and access in the wake of marital or other relationship dissolution.
These guidelines enhance psychological practice with women and girls from all social, ethnic and racial groups, sexual orientations and ability/disability status in the United States. These guidelines provide general recommendations for psychologists to increase awareness, knowledge and skills in psychological practice with women and girls.
In recent years, professional psychology practice with older adults has been increasing, due both demographic trends and changes in the marketplace and health service delivery settings. These guidelines inform psychological practice with older adults.
These guidelines provide psychologists with information and strategies for multicultural psychological practice.
The guidelines provide a resource on optimal psychological practice in pharmacotherapy. They also provide information for psychologists with any level of involvement with their patient’s psychotropic and other medication issues.
Practice Parameters: Screening And Diagnosis of Autism (Currently under review/revision)
Guidelines for Test User Qualifications (Currently under review/revision)
The goal of these guidelines is to help psychologists conceptualize and implement more effective, fair and ethical psychological assessments and interventions with persons with disabilities. The guidelines provide suggestions on ways psychologists can make their practices more accessible and disability-sensitive, and how they might enhance their working relationships with clients with disabilities. Additionally, the guidelines provide information on how psychologists can obtain more education, training and experience with disability-related matters.
Dementia in its many forms is a leading cause of functional limitation among older adults worldwide and will continue to ascend in global health importance as populations continue to age and effective cures remain elusive. These important guidelines were developed for psychologists who perform evaluations of dementia and age-related cognitive change.
Policy Documents on Developing APA Guidelines
Criteria for Practice Guideline Development and Evaluation (PDF, 140KB)
A guide for the development and evalution of proposed and existing guidelines to promote quality and consistency in practice guidelines.
Determination and Documentation of the Need for Practice Guidelines (PDF, 130KB)
Helpful addition to the Criteria document and provides information on how to document and demonstrate the need for practice guidelines
Practice Guidelines Criteria Checklist (PDF, 19KB)
This Checklist is a companion to the Criteria for Practice Guideline Development and Evaluation and may be used to evaluate guidelines that have been submitted for review and consideration for approval per Association Rule 30.8.
Criteria for Evaluating Treatment Guidelines (PDF, 51KB)
Includes a set of criteria to be used in evaluationing treatment guidelines. Created by a working group of the Board of Professional Affairs.
Treatment Guidelines Criteria Checklist (PDF, 29KB)
The checklist identifies the elements that the APA expects to find in a well-researched and well-written set of treatment guidelines.
Quality Improvement Programs
Evidence Based Practice in Psychology (PDF, 126KB)
Expiration of APA Guidelines
Guidelines adopted as Association policy usually expire within ten (10) years of adoption. Review and revision of guidelines set to expire routinely occurs within two years of expiration or when new laws and other developments require earlier review and revision. For further information on these and other guidelines, please contact: Governance Operations, APA Practice Directorate by email or call (202) 336-5881.