APA adopts new practice guidelines

Parenting coordination, psychological practice in health care delivery systems and psychological evaluations in child protection matters are the subject of new APA policy

By Governance Operations staff

March 17, 2011—The American Psychological Association (APA) Council of Representatives has approved and adopted as APA policy the following guidelines relevant to professional practice: 

Guidelines for the Practice of Parenting Coordination

The APA Practice Directorate has been involved in the development of Parenting Coordination (PC) as an emerging area of practice for psychologists since 2004. An APA task force was appointed in 2008 to draft parenting coordination guidelines, which describe best practices for ethical and competent functioning by psychologists in this unique role and are intended to promote the continued systematic development of this area of practice.

PC is a non-adversarial process that aims to minimize the impact of high-conflict custody disputes through parent education, mediation, conflict resolution and intensive case management. It is designed to help parents implement and comply with their parenting plans, make timely decisions in a manner consistent with children’s developmental and psychological needs, and reduce the amount of damaging conflict between caretaking adults to which children are exposed.  The underlying principle of the PC intervention is a continuous focus on children’s best interests. 

Guidelines for Psychological Practice in Health Care Delivery Systems

Health care has changed dramatically over the years as has psychological service delivery within health care settings. There are a wide variety of systems for health care delivery as well as of patient populations with whom psychologists work within these systems. There are also different entry points for psychologists to deliver professional services for both direct and indirect patient care within health care delivery systems.

Psychologists’ roles within these settings are expanding, and multidisciplinary collaboration within health care is becoming commonplace. These guidelines intend to assist psychologists, other health care providers, administrators in health care delivery systems and the public to conceptualize the roles and responsibilities of psychologists in these diverse contexts.

The guidelines may also be used to inform rule making and decision making in health care delivery systems about the roles of psychologists that are commensurate with their training and licensure. Federal and state laws, including those governing service delivery, payment arrangements and business structures, standards of accrediting bodies (for example Joint Commission) and institutional bylaws are also relevant to these rules and decisions.

The guidelines build upon earlier guidelines regarding hospital privileges, credentialing and bylaws specific to hospital settings (APA Board of Professional Affairs, Task Force on Hospital Privileges, 1991).

Guidelines for Psychological Evaluations in Child Protection Matters

These guidelines are a revision of the 1999 APA Guidelines for Psychological Evaluations in Child Protection Matters and intend to facilitate the continued systematic development of the profession and a high level of practice by psychologists. Psychologists strive to be familiar with the relevant law, procedures and practices in the jurisdiction(s) where they provide child protection evaluations.

The specific goal of the guidelines is to promote proficiency in using psychological expertise when psychologists conduct psychological evaluations in child protection matters.

 

Note: Guidelines are aspirational yet intend to facilitate the continued systematic development of the profession and to help ensure a high level of professional practice by psychologists. Guidelines are not intended to be mandatory or exhaustive and may not be applicable to every professional and clinical situation.