Some assumptions that guided the national task force in developing the Guidelines for involuntary Civil Commitment are identified and discussed. The task force's multidisciplinary membership is seen as enhancing the credibility of the suggested reforms. The task force developed guidelines instead of a model law, avoiding disputes about the philosophical basis of commitment laws and providing local jurisdictions the liberty to adapt the task force's recommendations to suit local conditions. Both the problems identified and the suggestions offered by the guidelines were based on the empirical experience of local commitment systems. Communication among the components of civil commitment systems was seen as crucial to reform and as achievable through a recommended structural change.