The following are summaries of 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.
Typographical Error on Website: Decision – Not to Investigate the Allegations (F&V)
The complainant alleged that a member’s name was misspelled on a website advertising his services. The complainant indicated this was of concern since clients need to accurately verify the identity of their psychological service provider.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter noted that while it is important for members to identify themselves correctly, this error was minor and typographical in nature. There was nothing to suggest that the incorrect spelling would compromise the quality of the member’s psychological services or otherwise amount to conduct that fell below the standards of the profession. The panel did not believe the typographical error was a public protection issue as the error was noted and would be corrected. 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.
Seeking Collateral Information: Decision – Advice
During a joint therapy session with her son, the complainant disclosed that the son’s teacher was encouraging him to be assessed for ADHD. The complainant alleged that the member requested that she obtain collateral information from the child’s father, in a way that indicated the member did not trust her perspective.
The panel of the ICRC considering this matter noted that the client’s marital dissolution had been acrimonious, and the client had alleged domestic abuse by her ex-spouse, the child’s father. In this context, the manner of the member’s request for collateral information from the father may have negatively affected the client. The panel noted that in her response to the complaint, the member acknowledged and reflected on the impact felt by the client. This led the panel to believe that there was little ongoing risk to the member’s alleged conduct. The panel therefore decided to provide Advice to the member, that in future, it may be helpful to provide clients with an explanation as to why collateral information is being requested. This may assist clients to better understand the context and scope of the information being sought.
Maintaining Appropriate Boundaries: Decision – Caution
The member requested that her client, a proficient musician, meet and provide mentorship to the member’s young daughter, who was an aspiring musician.
The panel noted that the member made considerable attempts to mitigate the possibility of exploitation or undue influence in the therapeutic relationship. They believed nevertheless that a dual relationship appears to have been formed, which posed high impact risks to the client and to public trust in the profession. The panel therefore decided it would be appropriate and in the public interest to provide the member with a Caution in this regard.