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Former psychologist disqualified for four years for failing to keep professional boundaries

09 Jan 2024

A Victorian psychologist has been disqualified for four years for failing to maintain professional boundaries, having multiple relationships with a client, poor record-keeping and sub-standard care.

On 15 June 2020, the Psychology Board of Australia referred Mr Marcel Saxone to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal over four allegations of professional misconduct, consisting of multiple relationships with a client, poor record-keeping and providing sub-standard care to a client. The multiple relationships included a sexual relationship, mentorship, personal communication and accepting gifts.

The tribunal said Mr Saxone showed such a lack of genuine remorse or insight on his part, particularly where he continues to blame what he regards as inadequate early training and the client herself.

The tribunal said ‘Saxone’s “treatment” includes a litany of failings from start to end. He failed to appropriately assess the client and her treatment needs and failed to formulate an adequate treatment plan or goals for the client’. In addition, his records did not meet ‘even the most basic standard of acceptable practice’.

The tribunal found all four allegations proven on 27 April 2023. On 18 December 2023, the tribunal ordered Mr Saxone is reprimanded, his registration is cancelled, and disqualified for four years from applying for registration and banned from giving any mental health, psychological or counselling service in that time.

When making its decision, the tribunal said Mr Saxone did not appear to have learnt from past disciplinary action and his half apologies or expressions of understanding of his failures were particularly disgraceful.

The tribunal held the four-year disqualification, along with the suspension which took effect on 18 September 2018, would send a message that such behaviour would result in significant and ‘possibly career-ending consequences’ for practitioners and should act as a deterrence.

In Mr Saxone’s case, this will result in more than nine years out of practice. Given the period out of practice, and Mr Saxone’s age, it is unlikely that he will ever practise again.

Read the tribunal’s full decision on the AustLII website.

The decision was based on allegations proven in April 2023, read these on the AustLII website.

Page reviewed 9/01/2024