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.
Advice offered to a Non-Client: Decision – Not to Investigate the Allegations (F&V)
The complainant alleged that the member gave advice to someone about his relationship with his partner when neither were the member’s clients.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter did not believe that it had the jurisdiction to proceed with an investigation. There was no indication that the member provided psychological services to the complainant or his partner. The member’s conduct did not appear connected to any psychological or professional activities. Rather, the conduct appeared to arise in a purely personal context. As such, the panel considered the complaint to be frivolous, vexatious, made in bad faith, moot or otherwise an abuse of process, and decided to take no further action.
Appropriateness of Conclusions: Decision – Advice
A client complained that a member’s report was inadequate because it was inconsistent. In the report, the member indicated that the client demonstrated several symptoms congruent with a particular DSM-5 diagnosis but concluded that no treatment was required.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter was concerned that there appeared to be a disconnect between the reported findings and the conclusion. The panel recognized that it may have been reasonable not to make the DSM-5 diagnosis, however without a clear explanation of why the noted symptoms did not support a diagnosis or any treatment, the report’s conclusions did not appear to be adequately supported. The panel noted that such gaps in a report can cause confusion for clients and uncertainty with respect to their entitlement to benefits. The panel decided to provide the member with Advice in this regard.
Professional Conduct: Decision – Acknowledgement & Undertaking
The College received a complaint from an individual to whom the member was providing psychotherapy. The client alleged that the member made insensitive and inappropriate comments during the course of therapy.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter noted that the specific comments alleged, and admitted to by the member, could be perceived as judgmental and inappropriate. The panel also believed that some of the comments could have represented an erosion of therapeutic boundaries. The panel therefore determined that an Acknowledgement and Undertaking, which included a coaching program, would be appropriate to address and remediate these concerns.