Psych Crime Reporter

May 4, 2013

Bill pending in Louisiana legislature would make psychotherapist sex with patients a crime

BATON ROUGE — A Lafourche Parish lawmaker has introduced legislation that he said would better define the sexual boundaries that should be applied to psychotherapists and their patients.

Rep. Dee Richard, no party affiliation, Thibodaux, said he attempted to take the issue in from several different angles when drafting House Bill 226.

The legislation is expected to be debated during the regular session that convenes Monday.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

“When you are under a psychotherapist’s care, you are very vulnerable,” Richard said. “There are a lot of cases out there where sexual contact occurred and it did not end well. This is something we should do a better job of avoiding.”

Richard’s bill would create a new crime that prohibits “sexual contact by a psychotherapist.”

It would not only target psychotherapists but also any person who “fraudulently represents himself as or purports to be a psychotherapist.”

The proposed law would apply more specifically to psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, mental health counselors and “any other person who provides or purports to provide treatment, diagnosis, assessment, evaluation, or counseling of any mental, emotional, behavioral, or addictive illnesses, disorders, symptoms, or conditions.”

As the bill is drafted, none of these individuals would not be allowed to engage in sexual contact with a client or patient, current or former.

Richard’s bill goes into great detail as to what constitutes a sexual act and seeks to cover a wide array of sexual scenarios.

”Some people may have a problem with the bill, in terms of consensual sex, and I am trying to address that,” Richard said.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

Under the bill, a psychotherapist would be allowed to have sexual contact with a former client as long as it occurs one year after their professional medical relationship ends.

There must also be a paper trail showing that the psychotherapist referred the former patient to an “independent and objective psychotherapist, recommended by a third-party psychotherapist, for treatment.”

According to the legislation, the consent of the patient alone “shall not be a defense.”

The penalties for breaking the proposed law would be imprisonment for no more than 10 years, a fine up to $10,000 or both.

If the sexual contact occurs by means of “therapeutic deception,” the bill calls for a maximum of 15 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both.

Therapeutic deception, as defined in the bill, means a representation by a psychotherapist that sexual contact is “consistent” with part of their patient’s treatment.

Richard said a local constituent brought the idea for the legislation to him, and the person is expected to testify during the regular session although the person was not prepared to be interviewed this week.

The legislation has been assigned to the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee.

SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 226, TO MAKE THERAPIST SEXUAL CONTACT A CRIME IN LOUISIANA: http://chn.ge/10i7tXs

Source: Jeremy Alford, “Bill examines psychotherapists’ sexual relationships with patients,” HoumaToday.com, April 6, 2013.

January 3, 2013

State reprimands psychologist David T. Bice over “comforting touch”

Filed under: boundary violation,psychologist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:44 pm

On October 8, 2012, the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners reprimanded David T. Bice, Ph.D. for unprofessional conduct; failure to avoid harm; failure to obtain informed consent and exceeding the boundaries of competence with regard to a teenage female patient.

According to the Board’s document, Bice engaged in “comforting touch” with the patient, which made her uncomfortable to the extent that “she will never see a male counselor again.” Bice additionally failed to make entries in the patient’s chart when he touched her, the rationale for touching, how the patient reacted, etc.; failed to get the patient’s full informed consent, relative to the use of touch in that the did not address the use of touch with the patient nor did he address it in his informed consent documents or the patient’s chart notes; exceeding the boundaries of competence by engaging in touch with the patient “without first establishing a strong therapeutic alliance and [failing] to monitor [the patient’s] reactions…and to make a corresponding chart note.”

In addition to the reprimand, Bice must successfully complete coursework in the areas of informed consent, patient charting and the use of touch during therapy and is also required to practice for a minimum of one year under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, among other things.

December 4, 2012

Psychiatrist Stephen Merritt Raffle reprimanded for discussing real estate deals with patient during sessions

Filed under: boundary violation,dual relationship,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 2:13 pm

MARIN COUNTY — A Kentfield psychiatrist was reprimanded by state regulators on allegations he used a patient’s therapy sessions to talk about the real estate business, the state medical board said.

Dr. Stephen Merritt Raffle was “grossly negligent” and committed “multiple boundary violations” by discussing his business experience and referring the patient to real estate lawyers and lenders, according to a filing by Linda Whitney, executive director of the board.

The board also alleged that Raffle failed to create or maintain therapy records over a period of more than three years, covering about 78 sessions.

Raffle was ordered to take courses in “professional boundaries,” medical record keeping and professionalism, the state board said. If he fails to complete the programs, he will have to end his practice.

The state medical board’s website describes a public reprimand as a disciplinary action for a “minor violation.” Raffle, who has been licensed since 1969, has no other disciplinary record.

Raffle had no comment Friday, his office said.

The patient started seeing Raffle in the aftermath of his father’s death and a probate dispute with his uncle. After the patient received counseling for that matter, he alleged that Raffle invited him to continue therapy to receive “financial advice” to help him “get ahead,” according to the board’s filings.

The patient alleged that the therapy, which continued until 2008, “consisted mainly of discussions about real estate,” according to the board’s filing.

In 2004, the patient bought a five-unit apartment building, intending to reside in one unit and live off the rental income from the others. Raffle allegedly advised the patient to convert them to condos and directed him to a lender and an attorney.

The patient said he ran out of money before the project was completed, got more money from the same lender, and ran out of money again, the medical board said. When the patient could not get another loan, Raffle allegedly recommended that the patient sign the property over to him and rent back one of the units.

The patient said he declined and stopped seeing Raffle. The medical board, represented by the state Attorney General’s Office, filed the accusation in July 2011. Raffle settled by stipulating to a reprimand, and it took effect on Friday.

In addition to his clinical practice, Raffle is a litigation consultant and has taught at the University of California at San Francisco, and the University of California Hastings College of the Law, according to his website.

Source: Gary Klien, “Marin County psychiatrist disciplined over alleged real-estate talks with patient,” Marin Independent Journal, December 3, 2012.

August 14, 2012

State disciplines psychotherapist Nikole Ahner Brown for involvement with client

Filed under: boundary violation,psychotherapist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:59 pm

On October 6, 2011, the Idaho Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists placed licensed marriage & family therapist Nikole Ahner Brown on two years supervised probation with terms and conditions.

The Board’s document states that Brown established a relationship with a former client which was not in the client’s best interest. This relationship included co-ownership of a vehicle, payment of the former client’s phone bill, a landlord-tenant relationship and a personal relationship.

The terms of Brown’s probation also include a $1,000 fine and reimbursement to the Board of $3,643 for its investigative costs and attorney fees.

Source: Stipulation and Consent Order in the Matter of the License of Nikole Ahner Brown, License No. LMFT-3085, Case No. COU-2010-18.

State suspends license of mental health counselor Ronald Ray Jones

Filed under: boundary violation,mental health counselor — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:59 pm

On February 29, 2012, the Idaho Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists suspended the license of professional counselor Ronald Ray Jones for one month, followed by one year of probation with conditions.

The Board’s Order states that in approximately May 2007, Jones began providing counseling services to a female client and her son and that Jones allegedly engaged in boundary violations with the client.

Though Jones denied the allegations of boundary violations, he acknowledged that he could have done a better job of recording and documenting various meetings and contact with the client.

Source: Stipulation and Consent Order in the Matter of the License of Ronald Ray Jones, License No. LPC-3560, Case No. COU-2011-8.

July 7, 2012

Virginia suspends psychologist Phyllis White Phelan for double patient boundary violation

Filed under: boundary violation,psychologist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 4:18 pm

On March 29, 2012, the Virginia Department of Health Professions suspended the license of Phyllis White Phelan, Ph.D.

According to Virginia’s documents, Phelan was indefinitely suspended from practice by the state of Minnesota on February 17, 2012 for unprofessional conduct.

The Minnesota Board’s documents state that Phelan engaged in a boundary violation in which she enlisted “patient 1” to go return a set of keys to “patient 2.” Patient 2 then invited 1 to go to a casino. Patient 1 reported being uncomfortable with the whole thing.

Phelan provided Patient 1 with $20 gas money for the task. The Board’s expert opined that Phelan committed a boundary violation against two patients on several levels.

Source: Order in re: Phyllis White Phelan, Ph.D., License No. 0810-004483, Before the Virginia Department of Health Professions.

July 5, 2012

Psychiatrist Kulsoom Khan charged by state of California following discipline in Nebraska

Filed under: boundary violation,dual relationship,psychiatrist — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:53 pm
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On April 24, 2012, the Medical Board of California issued and Accusation against psychiatrist Kulsoom A. Khan, seeking to revoke or suspend her license or to take other disciplinary action against her.

According to the Board’s document, Khan, who resides in Cupertino, California, was suspended in October 2011 for 90 days by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The documents issued by the state of Nebraska state that Khan treated patient “S.F.” for several months in 2002 and against in 2006 and that Khan and her husband allowed the patient to live with them from 2007 through April 2008, and employed her as a nanny during early 2008.

Khan and her husband also arranged for the patient to have an attorney to help with her child custody matter and helped her handle her legal problems. They also paid for tutoring for the patient’s son.

Lastly, Khan admitted to the Nebraska Board’s investigator that she engaged in a physical relationship with the patient during the summer of 2007.

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against Kulsoom Alvi Khan, Certificate No. C52915, Case No. 16-2011-219705, Medical Board of California.

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