By David S. Prescott, LICSW & Scott D. Miller, Ph.D.
At first blush, the development and dissemination practice guidelines for psychologists would seem a failsafe proposition. What possibly could go wrong with providing evidence-based information for improving clinical work? And yet, time and again, guidelines released by APA end up not just attracting criticism, but . Already, for example, a has been filed against the new guidelines at Harvard.
Consider others Coming in at just over 700 pages ensured few, if any, actual working professionals would read the complete document and supportive appendices. Beyond length, the way the information was presented–especially the lack of hypertext for cross referencing of the studies cited–seriously compromised any straightforward effort to review and verify evidentiary claims. for the treatment of trauma.Nevertheless, digging into the details revealed a serious problem: none of the specific approaches “strongly recommended” in the guidelines had been shown by research to be more effective than any other.
Guidelines are far from benign. They are meant to shape practice, establishing a “standard of care” -- one that will be used, as the name implies to guide training and treatment. As such, the stakes are high, potentially life altering for both practitioners and those they serve.
Sticking to the science of helping, instead of conforming to popular standards of public discourse, would have lead to a very different document – one containing a more nuanced and appreciative understanding of the boys and men who are reluctant to seek our care. In the fractious times in which we find ourselves, perhaps it’s time for guidelines on how to live and work together, as individuals and as a species.