If you feel that a licensed psychologist has performed unethically or illegally, would you know how to file a complaint and with whom?
Here is an example - including the actual paperwork - of a complaint that was accepted by the Board Of Psychology, an arm of the Department of Consumer Affairs of the State of California. The complaint is now a matter of public record and was endorsed by the Attorney General of California. Once the Board of Psychology has accepted your complaint, the Board becomes your advocate. (At least on the surface - as you will see.)
The authority for making such a complaint is described in the California Business and Professions Code which also provides for such things as recovery of costs of the state's involvement including legal and administrations costs and even costs of investigation if the 'licentiate' is found to have committed a violation.
In this case - against Larry Austin Leatham, Ph.D, License No. PSY-11651 - the charges were Gross Negligence, Repeated Negligent Acts, and Unauthorized Communication. The details are provided in the accusation #W163, page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7.
The matter was settled between the Board of Psychology and Larry Leatham by Agreement (a plea bargain). The psychologist, Larry Leatham, was disciplined. He stipulated to the charges, although stating that he contested the accusation. By order of the Board of Psychology, endorsed by the Attorney General, he was ordered to submit to an educational review and to pay for the costs of such review - at which time the Accusation would be withdrawn. The details of this Agreement - signed by the Board of Psychology and Larry Leatham - can be reviewed here .. Cover Letter from the Board, page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5.
Privately, Mr. Leatham also received a letter from the Board which read in part,
"Enclosed is a copy of the Order withdrawing Accusation No. W163. The stipulated agreement in this matter required that you attend an educational review session prior to the withdrawal of the Accusation. Inasmuch as you already had access to the Board's written expert report(s), the educational requirement is deemed fulfilled. No further action on your part is necessary."
If you are planning on filing a complaint with the Board of
Psychology, consider this:
- Your complaint may be rejected..
- If accepted, the Board may not rule in your favor.
- If your accusation is found to be true, their may be no discipline.
- The discipline may simply be an educational review.
- The educational review may be considered already fulfilled.
If you decide to submit a complaint, help us all out by allowing us to post your complaint and the resulting discipline here. This will help others decide what course of action to take in cases of unethical performance by a licensed psychologist.
By the way, all of this nonsense is being paid for by California Taxpayers. I am sure that the process is done similarly in all other states.
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Last update 09/08/00