Psychology Board of Australia - Failure to maintain professional boundaries or manage conflict of interest sees psychologist suspended for 12 months
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Failure to maintain professional boundaries or manage conflict of interest sees psychologist suspended for 12 months

08 Apr 2024

A provisionally registered psychologist has been reprimanded and had their registration suspended until 18 May 2025, for breaching professional boundaries and failing to disclose or manage a conflict of interest in their care of a client.

Following a mediation at Western Australia’s State Administrative Tribunal on 16 February 2024, the Psychology Board of Australia and Tibbs Lenson Naidoo agreed that Mr Naidoo had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct while treating a client in 2019.

Mr Naidoo had been providing counselling services to the client’s son since 2016, as part of his employment as a provisional psychologist and counsellor at the son’s school. In September 2019, two other parents at the school met with Mr Naidoo and told him they were concerned the client was suicidal and asked Mr Naidoo to take steps to assist her.

Mr Naidoo contacted the client and encouraged her to seek counselling services with him, but did not disclose the reason for this suggestion. He also did not correct the client’s assumption that the reason he had contacted her was about her son’s ongoing treatment.

During their subsequent consultations, Mr Naidoo failed to maintain professional boundaries or provide appropriate clinical care, including making a range of personal disclosures to the client and not developing appropriate treatment goals. Mr Naidoo also did not undertake a formal risk assessment to ascertain the client’s risk of suicide.

During the mediation it was agreed that Mr Naidoo had:

  • failed to disclose or manage a conflict of interest, when he failed to disclose his reasons for suggesting that the client attend consultations with him;
  • failed to fully inform the client about the psychological services that he intended to provide to the client’s son;
  • made or directed inappropriate comments, disclosures, gestures and questions to the client;
  • sent text messages to the client that were informal and inappropriate;
  • failed to provide appropriate clinical care to the client; and
  • failed to make and maintain adequate clinical records in relation to his consultations with the client.

Mr Naidoo was:

  • reprimanded;
  • suspended for a period of 12 months (from 18 May 2024);
  • had supervision and education conditions imposed on his registration; and
  • was ordered to pay the Board’s costs in the sum of $6,000.

Read the full decision on the eCourts Portal of Western Australia.

Page reviewed 8/04/2024