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APA/ASPPB/APAIT Joint Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists Summary Statement #2

The APA/ASPPB/APAIT Joint Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists (Telepsychology TF) is a joint venture of three organizations, the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association of State and Provincial Psychological Boards (ASPPB) and the APA Insurance Trust (APAIT), that provide guidance on many aspects of the profession, including those aspects related to its ethical, regulatory and legal principles and practices. The Telepsychology TF is comprised of psychologists (four each from APA and ASPPB, and two from APAIT), who have a variety of backgrounds, knowledge and experience reflecting an expertise and knowledge of the issues that practitioners must address each day in the use of technology, ethical considerations, mobility and scope of practice, to name only a few. Co-Chairs for the Telepsychology TF are Drs. Linda Campbell (APA) and Fred Milln (ASPPB), and staff support is provided by the APA and ASPPB.

Guiding Principle of the Task Force

The Telepsychology TF met in Atlanta, GA on November, 15-16, 2011 and reaffirmed the following principle guiding its work: The APA/ASPPB/APAIT Joint Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines for Psychologists is committed to giving guidance with practical application to psychologists who are engaged, or wish to engage, in telepsychology, including professional guidelines, regulatory direction, and risk management principles.

Telepsychology Task Force November 15-16, 2011 Meeting

A two-day meeting, held in Atlanta, GA on November 15-16, 2011, represented the second face-to-face meeting of the Telepsychology Task Force. Prior to the November meeting, Telepsychology TF members were grouped into four teams to summarize and outline the various issues identified and discussed during its July 2011 meeting. Team members reviewed at least fourteen content areas that will provide a foundation for telepsychology guidelines (i.e. informed consent, access to care, inter-jurisdictional practice, competence, education, etc.), and produced documents and draft statements that were then shared, reviewed and edited electronically. Task Force members utilized conference calls and e-mails to discuss and facilitate their work between July and November. At its November meeting, Telepsychology TF members reviewed and discussed the work done by the various teams, as well as, reviewed the current research and policy literature related to relevant international, national and state statutes, regulations and guidelines on the use of technology in the delivery of psychological services. In addition to a review of current guidelines related to the delivery of psychological services, Task Force members spent considerable time gaining an understanding of the APA process for developing guidelines related to psychological practice.

Telepsychology Summary Statement #2- November 2011

Additionally, the Telepsychology TF discussed various models for inter-jurisdictional practice, noting the importance of this issue to telepsychological practice, as expressed in the literature and by survey respondents. Further discussions with each respective organizational board will be scheduled in the future.

Process and Timeline for Development of Telepsychology Guidelines

During its November meeting, Task Force members reflected on the comments gathered prior to the meeting and the small team discussions by Task Force members to create guideline content areas. These discussions resulted in the development of an outline for guidelines to be drafted by four working teams formed by the Task Force members. The outline for guidelines reflects the knowledge gained from the review of literature and research, current and draft documents outlining the use of technology in the delivery of services, input and feedback from experts, organizations and individuals. As a next step, the Telepsychology TF members outlined the key areas for guidelines and assigned guideline writing teams to begin the preparation of draft guidelines. As a part of the guideline writing process, TF members will reach out to identified individuals or groups with expertise in the various content areas for input and/or review of the draft guidelines. The Telepsychology TF has developed a draft time-line for its work. The guideline writing teams will first prepare and share their first drafts with the entire Telepsychology TF for review and comment during the first months of 2012. The second step will be to prepare and share a draft of the guidelines during a public comment period in the spring of 2012.

Public Comment Periods and APA Member Engagement

It is anticipated that the first draft of telepsychology guidelines will be released in the spring of 2012. There will be a public comment period hosted by APA, as well a planned session offered at the 2012 APA Convention in Orlando, FL. The APA Convention session will focus on presenting details of the newly drafted telepsychology guidelines, discuss feedback received during the public comment period and provide a face-to-face opportunity for APA members to engage in dialogue with the Telepsychology TF members about the draft telepsychology guidelines. The session will be sponsored by the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP) and the Board of Professional Affairs (BPA).

Telepsychology Task Force Work Plan for the Future

As it continues its work, the Telepsychology TF will seek additional input and comments from psychologists, organizations and the public as they continue the process of developing telepsychology guidelines and these opportunities for input will be shared broadly. The Telepsychology TF welcomes the interest of the profession in its work, and looks forward to the input from members of the profession.

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