The following are summaries of some recent decisions of the Inquiries, Complaints and Reports Committee, reflecting three different dispositions. They are provided for educational purposes. Information in these summaries has been altered to protect the privacy of both members and complainants, and to protect the confidentiality of the investigation process. The relevant substance of the allegations and outcomes remain unchanged.
Informed Consent: Decision: Take No Further Action
The complainant made various allegations related to a court-ordered parenting capacity assessment the member conducted with respect to her and her partner. One of the allegations was that the complainant did not provide informed consent for the assessment as the medication she was taking at the time caused temporary psychosis and negatively impacted her ability to answer questions.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter noted that the clinical record did at times reflect the complainant’s inability to engage in assessment activities. On those occasions however, the sessions were discontinued. There was no indication that the complainant had been affected by her medication at the time that she consented to the assessment. There was also no indication that the complainant had, at any time, withdrawn her consent to participate in the assessment. The panel therefore determined there was no risk to the public with respect to this allegation and decided to Take No Further Action.
Providing Services Outside of Ontario: Decision: Advice
A health clinic made a mandatory report to the College due to its termination of a member’s employment. One of the reasons provided for termination was that the member had inappropriately provided psychological services outside of Ontario.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter believed, based on the member’s response, that he appeared appropriately aware of the risks and benefits of providing his client with therapy while the client was travelling. The panel noted however, that the member’s considerations were was not adequately documented in his clinical notes. While the panel believed that the member’s reasons for providing virtual therapy to this client on a limited basis appeared adequate and appropriate, the clinic did not have the benefit of understanding this decision. The panel therefore decided to provide the member with Advice with respect to documenting his ethical decision-making processes.
Conflict of Interest, Objectivity, and Intimate Partner Violence: Decision – Undertakings
The member provided individual psychotherapy services to the complainant’s spouse for a period of five years. The complainant participated in several joint sessions with her spouse over several months before lodging a complaint. The complainant alleged that because of the member’s therapeutic alliance with her spouse, the member did not appropriately respond to the concerns of domestic abuse she disclosed in those joint sessions.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter noted that the member did not appear to dispute the complainant’s description of the information she disclosed. In the panel’s view, this information did appear to indicate patterns of abuse. The panel was very concerned that the member did not appear to recognize or appropriately address these issues, as this apparent failure posed high risks to the complainant and others. The panel therefore believed it was appropriate and in the public interest to ask the member to enter into an Undertaking, comprised of a Coaching Program consisting of education and clinical file review, to address these concerns.