14 Sep 2022
A Victorian psychologist has been banned from practising for a year after he was found to have engaged in professional misconduct.
The Psychology Board of Australia referred Mr Jones to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in February 2020, after taking immediate action on 18 November 2018 to impose supervision conditions on Mr Jones’ practice.
Mr Jones had begun treating a female client in November 2017 for complex issues, including those arising from childhood sexual abuse.
In June 2019, the client complained to Ahpra that Mr Jones had engaged in escalating uninvited physical contact between 2017-2018, by kissing her on the hand, cheek and lips, and hugging her, over the course of four consultations.
On 24 November 2019, Mr Jones surrendered his registration, effective 29 November 2019.
The Tribunal found that Mr Jones’ actions undermined the trust he had been seeking to build with his client, and the reputation of the psychology profession generally.
It also found that Mr Jones had initiated unwelcome physical contact, failed to provide adequate care and failed to provide adequate clinical notes.
Concerning the unwelcome physical contact, while the Tribunal accepted that Mr Jones was clearly remorseful, it did note that he denied the allegations of kissing the client on the cheek and lips for almost three years.
In handing down its orders on 19 August, the Tribunal reprimanded Mr Jones, disqualified him from applying for registration as a psychologist for one year and prohibited him from providing any health service involving the provision of mental health, psychological or counselling services for one year.
The full decision is available on Austlii.
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