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Dirty Therapy: 7 Examples Of Therapists Getting Into Trouble Or Their Licenses Revoked

Dirty Therapy: 7 Examples Of Therapists Getting Into Trouble Or Their Licenses Revoked

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Credit: Drazen Zigic / iStock

Mental health specialists, be they therapists or licensed psychologists, have a major responsibility to their patients, and they have a code of ethics they are supposed to abide by. When they don’t, they can lose their jobs, be suspended, or even have their licenses revoked.

Misconduct can lead to the loss of your psychologist license. According to the Law Office of Joseph J. Bogdan, which specializes in professional license defense, if the mental health practitioner has done anything unethical, unauthorized, and unprofessional conduct, the state’s regulator can suspend or revoke a psychologist’s license, refuse to issue or renew a license, or take other forms of disciplinary action if necessary.

Various practices are considered unethical, such as offering services or practicing techniques that they are unqualified to do; revealing confidential client information; deliberately misrepresenting or making misleading claims about professional qualifications; failing to inform a prospective research subject of serious side effects of the research; any sexual misconduct, abuse, or relations with a client; any type of fraudulent claims for services to a health insurance company, health service plan, or third-party payor; among other things.

Here are seven examples of therapists getting into trouble or having their licenses revoked.

1.Licenses don’t allow illegal drug dealing        

A therapist based in Urbandale, Iowa, had his license revoked after a complaint of using a student to sell drugs to other teenagers. Joni Hunley’s license was suspended in April 2022. According to the Iowa Board of Social Work, Hunley worked at Woodward Community Based Services when she used a student patient to sell marijuana. The student admitted during a hearing that she sold drugs to “half her school.”


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Hunley denied the allegations, but the board said there was enough evidence to back the student’s claim. Hunley’s license was revoked, and she was ordered to pay a $130 fine, KCCI reported.

2.TikTok Rant Backfired

A therapist named Shabree Rawls went on a TikTok rant recently about Black men failing to address their mental health concerns by not seeking out professionals. Now she has become the latest person to lose their job over a TikTok posting.

She is no longer working at Grow Well Cleveland following a video she posted on Aug. 13 to her nearly 150,000 followers. In the video, Rawls told Black men to “expand their emotional vocabulary” and stressed that they should go to therapy.

“Y’all think b*ches just be talking in ya’ll ear just to be f*ing talking; we don’t. Y’all think b*ches just wanna argue with y’all because y’all refuse to expand your emotional vocabulary; we don’t,” said Rawls, who said her clientele is 90 percent Black men. “It’s to provide clarity for both us and y’all dusty b*ches.”

3. Tennessee counselor’s alleged sexual misconduct

A counselor in Middle Tennessee had his license permanently revoked in August 2022 due to allegedly touching a teen boy during treatment, News Channel 9 reported. James McGill, a counselor at Cedars Counseling, where the incidents took place from 2018 to 2019, had his license taken away by the Tennessee Board for Professional Counselors.

According to the complaints to the Department of Children’s Services and Murfreesboro Police, on at least three occasions, McGill is said to have placed his hands in the boy’s waistband to “assist” with breathing exercises, and that McGill told the boy his own sexual encounters when he was 16. he boy reported McGill to his parents, who took action against McGill.

McGill was also fined $4,000 in civil penalties.

4.Falsifying Data, licenses gone

All over the world, mental health practitioners have to play by the rules. When they don’t, they can lose their careers. in late 2011, Diederik Stapel, a psychologist in the Netherlands, was fired from Tilburg University for falsifying or fabricating data in dozens of studies, NBC News reported. 

5.Torture results in lost of licenses

After 9/11 there were numerous reports of torture allegations of alleged terrorists, especially those being held at Guantánamo Bay detention camp, a U.S. military prison located within Guantánamo Bay Naval Base on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. And a torture scandal involving the U.S.’s premiere professional association of psychologists cost three senior officials their jobs in 2015.

The American Psychological Association was found by an independent investigation that it complicit in U.S. torture. As a result, the group fired its chief executive officer, its deputy CEO and its communications chief.

All three were implicated in the 542-page report that concluded that APA leaders “colluded” with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. 

The APA first came under fire when the Guardian reported that the APA had declined to take action against a psychologist who participated in a brutal Guantanamo plot.

6. Therapist suspended over alleged sexual assault of patient

Mark Phillips, a 56-yer-old independent clinical social worker based in Nashua, New Hampshire, was suspended in November by state license officials due to allegations he sexually assaulted two patients. He went on to face criminal charges, the Nashua Telegraph reported.

Phillips was associated with the New England Center for Comprehensive Counseling’s Nashua practice and he was licensed to practice in New Hampshire in April 2015, according to the state Office of Professional Licensure and Certification’s Board of Mental Health Practice.

The allegations that led to the board’s action were reported to Nashua police, according to a police report. A parent went on to file a report alleging that her son had been “inappropriately touched” by his therapist, whom they identified as Phillips. He was arrested in August 2022.

7. School psychologist fired

Students and parents rallied behind a school psychologist who was fired by New Jersey’s Middlesex County school district.

When the Piscataway School Board decided not to grant tenure to one of its school psychologists, some said the firing was in retaliation for the psychologist advocating for LGBTQ+ students and inclusive curriculum, New Jersey News 12 reported in May 2022.

Dr. Cassia Mosdell worked at T. Schor Middle School for four years, making her eligible for tenure.

Credit: Drazen Zigic / iStock, https://www.istockphoto.com/search/2/image?arist=Drazen%20Zigic&family=creative