Psychologists play a vital role in society’s social and economic structure. Most people prefer to branch into private practice after working for a hospital or clinic. For the psychology business to run lawfully, you require an active business license. If your license has been suspended you can engage with your license attorney, who will give guidelines on how to get the most suitable terms.
Licensing agreements are beneficial in granting rights to your business. The protection brought by obtaining a license is essential to your practice as a psychologist because it protects your intellectual property. A license agreement may grant exclusive rights. That means that no other person in a similar business can adopt or copy your practice methods or knowledge because it is personal to you. Some of the standard license agreements offered to clients are:
Psychologists obtain licenses from the California Board of Psychology. This body is empowered by law to perform administrative functions regarding any issues to do with issuing permits. Moreover, the board receives any complaints against practitioners accused of any kind of misconduct. If you face any accusations concerning any malpractice that could cause you to lose your license, you may seek the services of a professional license lawyer like the San Diego License Attorney.
Psychologists’ Scope of Work
Professionals who specialize in the field of Psychology are responsible for dealing with patients who suffer from various conditions related to mental health. For example, a psychologist can have a session with a patient who has trouble with personal and social relationships. Also, they help people suffering from various addictions to overcome their state of mind and get back to regular practices. Different psychologists also deal with forensic matters. These include people who are parties to any previous or ongoing criminal cases. The psychologist plays the role of unearthing any useful information that can help determine if such a person is sane, and can, therefore, proceed to be prosecuted in the criminal case.
Moreover, psychologists deal with cases of depression, anxiety, and mental disorders. Overall, they use the study of scientific methods to create a pattern and foresee any behavior exhibited by a patient. Hence, they can use these patterns to make predictions of any future behavior and seek remedies to alter the patient’s actions gradually.
Allegations Against Psychologists That Warrant Loss of a License
Once a patient or a third party institute complaints against your mode of practice, the Psychology Board will assess the nature of the circumstances of your actions. Afterward, the board issues follow-up retributive punishment, if it seems fit. Some of the conflicts raised as complaints are:
Acting Ultra Vires
A psychologist who acts in an ultra vires way is one who surpasses the stipulated provisions and regulations that govern the profession. For example, if you visit your patient at his or her private residence while it is not allowed in the work ethics, you act beyond the scope of what you should do. Consequently, such a patient may raise a complaint of trespass against you, along with any other misconduct you engaged in during your visit to his or her premises. If you refused to leave until you got a chance to speak to the patient, it could aggravate the allegations brought forth.
An Incompetent Psychologist
Apart from acting beyond the powers conferred to you, a patient or a third party may suspect that you do not have the appropriate skill or ethics to perform your job. He or she may deduce this from the way you conduct your interactive sessions, as well as the kind of specific information you dispense to the patient. If such a person raises the complaint, the California Board of Psychology may decide to investigate you and retrieve any evidence that displays your incompetence.
Engaging in Sexual Relationships With Your Patient
Some psychologists may take advantage of their patients’ vulnerable state of mind and convince them to engage themselves sexually. Conversely, some clients will probe their psychologists to enter sexual relationships with them. Some do this with malicious intent to set up the practitioner and have his or her license revoked. Most of the reported cases are made by third parties who notice the inappropriate relations or receive information from the client seeing the psychologist. Although the California Psychology Board may admit the claimants’ complaints, it must conduct independent and unbiased investigations to get to the root cause of the problem. If they find you guilty of instituting any sexual advances against a client, the board members will decide on the kind of action to take on you.
Encouraging Monetized Referral Systems
A psychologist in practice should not rely on paid referrals to attract a new client. Instead, he or she should work professionally and within the framework of provided guidelines and ensure a fair means of bringing in new clientele. Using paid referrals poses unfair competition to other psychologists in practice, which is a violation of contract law.
Additionally, the references may be inaccurate or exaggerated because they focus more on marketing a brand, and not necessarily bringing in patients who have specific needs for treatment. Thus, a firm of psychologists may raise a complaint against you if you use paid referrals to ensure that your license is revoked or suspended for unfair competition. However, your license attorney can raise justification for your mode of reference and reduce the disciplinary action issued to you.
Obtaining a Psychology License By Fraud
Sometimes, the process of applying for a proper license may take too long, prompting some psychologists to attain them by fraudulent means. Fraud may involve the fabrication of false documents that indicate your level of competence to be higher than it is. Alternatively, the fraud may extend to corruption, whereby a practitioner in need of a license bribes a worker in the licensing board to speed the process up. Consequently, the worker may result in fraud to fast track the production of the permit. For a psychologist practicing under an invalid license, he or she may face several disciplinary actions from the Board of Psychology. Additionally, the person may lose his or her business for engaging in such misconduct.
Working Under Drug or Alcohol Influence
Engaging in negligent behavior like showing up for work drunk or high on other drugs is a sure way to put your access to a working license in jeopardy. Naturally, a drunk or high person cannot coordinate his or her thoughts and actions appropriately. Therefore, the psychologist is likely to make a client uncomfortable. He or she may also trespass personal space boundaries while under the influence. Generally, such a person cannot work as required. Therefore, an aggravated client is entitled to complain about your behavior to the relevant board. The result is similar to all other malpractices, as you put yourself at risk of losing your practicing license.
Having a Previous Criminal Record
Some, if not all clients, may have reservations upon learning that you are an ex-convict. While it is generally unfair to hold someone against a particular bias based on previous actions, the Psychology Board has the discretion to consider such claims against you. Therefore, you could face complaints against your business practice for failing to disclose your criminal record to potential clients, as it can build apprehension. A patient seeking psychological treatment needs to feel safe around his or her psychologist for effective treatment to ensue. Thus, if he or she finds out about your previous criminal record, they may feel cheated and demand reprimanding action against you.
Additionally, some criminal penalties prevent you from engaging in professional work. If you work under this discretion, you also stand a chance of losing your practice license. However, your license attorney can make justifications and arguments on your behalf in proceedings.
Unlicensed Employees Associated with Your Clinic
For an entire clinic or any other private practice facility to run effectively, you need several employees who work under you. They play a significant role in ensuring that all systems are in place, as each person is delegated a particular task. Thus, they should be qualified and equally have valid licenses of practice. A failure to prove that they have these requisite documents may bring liability to you, the overall supervisor. The head psychologist carries the blame under vicarious liability because he or she has the responsibility of ensuring that all employees in the company have legally validated documents. Because of this failed task, a complaint may be raised against you, to investigate any other weak links in your practice area that may lead to the loss of your license.
Process After Complainants Raise Allegations
When the California Board of Psychology receives all complaints raised against you, they will assess the actions in question and decide on whether or not they wish to make further investigations. Their decision is influenced by the principles governing administrative law. They include accountability, justification, and reasonableness. If your course of action was in complete violation of such policies, the board would authorize a further investigation.
Upon deciding to instigate the investigation against you, the board must issue you with a notice informing you of any processes they will undertake to make their probes and investigations. Moreover, to help ease the complicated and invasive nature of conducting inquiries, the board may order a temporary suspension of your business. You also receive a suspension, depending on how severe your case is. For example, if you are accused of engaging in criminal behavior like fraud, it is logical to suspend all your operations until the investigators unearth the truth. They do this to avoid any conflict or undue influence as they conduct their work.
Despite the Psychology Board’s definite goal to act independently, the investigation process may take a very long time, ranging from several months to even years. Such an extended period may bring significant economic loss to your practice. Workers who depend on the business to get by are also affected. Thus, you should engage with your license attorney, who can apply pressure for the board’s investigative team to hasten the process.
Additionally, your license lawyer can introduce points in the administrative hearings that demonstrate how much loss you sustain from the temporary suspension. The claim is viable and valid because you should not suffer such damage from mere investigations, as you may be found innocent eventually. Thus, such a disadvantageous process will be in vain.
The Administrative Hearing
Upon the conclusion of investigations, the California Psychology Board will initiate formal hearings to determine whether you will keep your license or not. The officials assigned to your case will listen to your submissions in response to the claims raised against you. You are allowed to have a lawyer present as a legal right. Thus, you can seek the services of lawyers from the San Diego License Attorney. He or she is in a better position to present your submissions as well as seek remedies from the administrative officials. Moreover, using a lawyer prevents the aspect of bias, especially if you know any panelist in the regulatory setting personally.
The outcomes of the hearings may bring about two courses of action, which are:
The administrative body may take disciplinary action against you
The body may also take non-disciplinary action against you
It is more severe for the psychologist in question because it is likely to cost him or her the working license. Additionally, the outcomes and reasons for a disciplinary action may be available online for all seeking persons to find. Therefore, it becomes terrible press for your business, even if you were to carry on with the operations. Some of the actions the board may decide to take against you are:
Revoke Your License
In the worst-case scenario, the board will authorize the revocation of your license. This means that you are not allowed to practice Psychology under commercial purposes in the state. Cancellation is the most severe disciplinary action you can receive because it fundamentally limits your ability to work as a psychologist for a long time. Sometimes, the revocation is permanent. That means that you have to join another field of work, which may be difficult because of the given track record.
Suspend Your License
A suspended license prevents you from working for a specified period. The time range may vary depending on the severity of the offense committed. However, unlike in license revocation, you can get your license back after the duration comes to an end. Moreover, the board may order you to undergo a period of probation before they institute the actual suspension. The probation period gives you a chance to prove your validity and innocence before the board can determine whether or not to proceed with the suspension.
Order to Surrender Your License
Also, the Psychology administrative board may order you to give up your license of practice, often for a limited time. Usually, you are unable to practice during this duration, because you lack the required documentation needed in business premises. Normally, after three years, you can apply to get your license reinstated. The process is not as easy as the California Psychology Board will make in-depth probes, inquiring about how you intend to proceed with business from then on. Your license lawyer will help you make the applications and significantly increase your chances of restitution. Moreover, he or she will help in giving you reminders to act promptly. It is important to make timely applications for restitution of licenses because a delay will defeat the entire process.
Issue a Reproving Letter
A reproving letter aims to reprimand you for the actions you partake that risk your ability to retain your license. The content of the letter includes the faults you are accused of, how to correct them, and how to avoid them in the future. A reproving letter also issued a warning of further severe action in case you repeat the misconduct that prompted your accusations. Mostly, a reproving letter is issued where the errors you have done are not as severe or detrimental to your clients as others. For example, you may receive such a letter for making false advertising.
How Your License Attorney Helps
Your San Diego License Attorney can help you initiate settlements with aggrieved complaints outside the administrative hearings. Typically, such settlements prevent you from ever raising any appeal against the claims or penalties against you in the future, even if the claimants made them in bad faith. Therefore, your license must ensure that he or she does due-diligence to certify that settlements are the best option.
Making a settlement may involve monetary compensation to the claimant, which ends the need for further administrative action. Your license lawyer helps you to distinguish between genuine and manipulative agreements prepared by claimants and their attorneys.
Find a San Diego License Attorney Near Me
Psychology is a noble profession that requires dedication and hard work. Therefore, when accused of malpractices that threaten the loss of your practice license, you need the help of accredited License Attorneys. We at the San Diego License Attorney will guide you through the administrative hearing process and offer advice as well as legal guidance. We can help aggrieved Psychology clients retain their licenses lawfully. Contact us today at 619-728-7448.