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Psychologist Loses License Over Sexual Misconduct


Being a psychologist is a tough job. Your job is to listen to your patients and understand their thoughts and feelings. Many clients have mental and emotional disorders and a psychologist’s job is to help diagnose and manage them.

This means that psychologists really get to know their clients. They connect with their clients on a deeper level and this can cause them to develop romantic or sexual feelings, which can turn into a complicated matter. If the psychologist acts on their feelings, they can face punishment, including license loss.

This is what happened to a psychologist in Michigan. The man was convicted of having a sexual relationship with a client, leading to license suspension, fines and jail time.

The sexual misconduct began in 2014, when the psychologist, who owned his own practice, started treating the patient. He performed what he called “body work therapy” and began having a sexual relationship with the patient. In 2018, the patient terminated the therapy and filed a police report against the psychologist.

The psychologist pled guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. In March 2020, his license was suspended for at least three years. He faces 45 days in jail and a $25,000 fine.

The psychologist has the option to return to practice. However, if he wants to be reinstated, he must petition the Board of Psychology and meet the requirements of the Public Health Code.

Sexual Misconduct Among Psychologists

Sexual misconduct is prevalent in the behavioral health field. It’s not just “bad” psychologists who end up getting sexually involved with their patients. Many in the field are well-meaning and are no different from the rest of us, but they are often led down the path of sexual misconduct.

Therapists who commit sexual misconduct are grouped into four categories:

  • Those who have “lovesickness”
  • Those who act as predators and lack empathy for their victims
  • Those who have a psychotic disorder
  • Those who are self-destructive and masochistic

Lovesickness is actually quite common. It is believed that as many as 65% of therapists who have had sex with their clients have considered themselves to be “in love.” Those who considered themselves to be lovesick often have one of several factors involved, including self-esteem issues, boundary problems with parental figures, unresolved anger and countertransference of emotions.

In any case, sex with a therapist often has damaging consequences for patients. Many are unable to trust a therapist ever again. Many are long-time victims of sexual abuse, so the subsequent abuse is just another incident in a long line of abuse.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Psychologist Licensing Lawyer

Psychologists tend to get close to their patients mentally and emotionally. This can cause them to develop sexual feelings for their clients. Sometimes they act on these feelings, causing them to face punishment, such as license suspension.

Don’t let your actions ruin your career. Get help from Tampa psychologist licensing lawyer David P. Rankin. He has helped psychologists and other licensed professionals hang onto their licenses. Fill out the online form or call (813) 968-6633 to schedule a consultation.