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Kansas and Missouri Psychologists – How to Fight an Unsubstantiated Complaint

As a psychologist, patients put their trust in you.  They share their feelings, secrets, concerns and their entire life stories, seeking help to deal with the problems they are facing in their lives.  You have a tough job.  You have to remain impartial but still assist your patients in learning how to get through tough times, and get on the right track in their lives.  However, it is not uncommon for a patient to become too close to his or her psychologist and misinterpret the scope of the relationship.

Patients may feel so close to their psychologists that they develop romantic feelings.  They may believe these feelings are being reciprocated by misunderstanding their psychologists’ kind and receptive behavior.  For example, a patient may start believing that his or her psychologist is the comforting companion he or she always wanted, instead of realizing that the patient needs to take what is learned in therapy sessions and apply it to their personal lives.

Psychologists face a slippery slope where they may need to take a step back when they realize their patients are getting too close.  If a psychologist does tell his or her patient that it would be best to cut ties with the psychologist-patient relationship, the patient may get upset and decide to file a complaint in retaliation.  This is an unfortunate risk of being a psychologist.

In order to defend yourself when your license is at risk for something you did not do, you need to be sure to document in great detail every conversation you have with your patient.  You also need to document certain behaviors you believe are inappropriate.  If you are able to record conversations of your therapy sessions with the consent of your patients, this will help to gather evidence in your favor.  If you keep a good record of everything, you will have the documentation you need to defend yourself against an invalid complaint.

How to Prevent Complaints in the First Place

It isn’t always possible to predict with certainty how a patient will behave, but there are a few steps you can take to help a patient understand your role as a psychologist and his or her role as a patient.  First, you should tell your patient at the first meeting that the relationship is strictly limited in scope to that of a psychologist-patient relationship.  Second, you should have your patient sign a consent/agreement form outlining that the patient consents to receive counseling within the parameters of the law and agrees to not cross the line and attempt to form a romantic relationship.  If the patient does cross the line, the patient agrees that the psychologist-patient relationship should be terminated.  Third, you should remind your patient periodically of the parameters of the relationship should the patient exhibit behaviors that are inappropriate.

You will have patients from all walks of life.  You will have patients that understand what to expect from counseling or therapy, and you will have patients that attempt to cross the line.  You may have patients that retaliate against you for your actions of rejecting a romantic relationship.  When a patient retaliates, you need the assistance of a professional license defense attorney.

Contact the Sanger Law Office Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

A complaint based on false allegations could tarnish your reputation as a psychologist.  If you are facing a complaint filed by a patient that is completely unfounded and not based on fact, you need to speak with our professional license defense attorney as soon as possible.  Danielle Sanger of the Sanger Law Office has assisted clients just like you who have faced allegations that are simply not true.  Don’t let a false complaint prevent you from practicing as a psychologist.  Contact the Sanger Law Office today for a free consultation to discuss your case.  You may contact us online or call us at 785-979-4353.