Tribunal imposes conditions on psychologist for professional misconduct

30 Jun 2017

Tribunal reprimands psychologist, imposes conditions on registration for professional misconduct.

A tribunal has reprimanded a psychologist and placed conditions on his registration after he admitted to behaving in a way that constitutes professional misconduct in his management of professional boundaries with patients.

The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) referred Mr Anatole John Hudson to the State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in Western Australia on 7 October 2016 pursuant to section 193(1)(a)(i) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

The Board subsequently alleged Mr Hudson had engaged in professional misconduct by failing to maintain professional boundaries in relation to three clients, contravening the Australian Psychology Society Code of Ethics (2007).

Mr Hudson admitted the allegations, acknowledging he had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct in that he (among other things):

  • initiated and accepted a referral from a general practitioner for a client who was living in a granny flat at his property
  • agreed that a client could stay at his property rent free in exchange for completing construction and/or landscaping jobs on the property
  • did not obtain professional advice from a registered psychologist about whether he should refrain from or limit his provision of psychological services to a client in the above circumstances
  • did not take adequate steps to refer a client to another practitioner in the above circumstances
  • consulted with a client on at least six occasions while the client was living on his property
  • facilitated a client sub-letting a house on his property
  • accepted work services from a client in lieu of rent
  • assisted a client in applying for a role as a carer to a female, and initiated contact and facilitated a meeting between them, when he knew or ought to have known that the client had ongoing issues with his mental health, and alcohol and substance abuse
  • contacted a client’s employer and offered to act as a mediator, and
  • spoke to two co-workers of a client to assess allegations of bullying at work.

By way of mitigation, Mr Hudson submitted (among other things) his admission of the allegations and the insight he had since developed into the issues raised. He submitted he has reflected upon his manner of practice and sought guidance from two senior psychologists in relation to the maintenance of professional boundaries.

On 3 May 2017, the tribunal ordered that Mr Hudson:

  • be reprimanded
  • have conditions imposed on his registration requiring supervision in relation to managing professional boundaries, with supervisor reports to be made available to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and
  • pay the Board’s costs in the sum of $4000.

The decision is published on the tribunal’s website.

 
 
Page reviewed 30/06/2017