Psychological Injury from Licensing Complaints Against Mental Health Practitioners

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Abstract

Today's mental health practitioners are subject to governmental (e.g., licensing boards) and legal (e.g., professional liability or malpractice) monitoring and regulation. Regrettably, the governmental and legal oversight of health care has proven to be tilted in favor of the service user, with frequent unfair processing and unjustifiably harsh penalties imposed on mental health practitioners—which often result in psychological injury. Stress and anxiety caused by a licensing complaint is common; and in this article, the psychological effects are set forth. It is concluded that there is no reason to expect relief from the risks of practice in the future, that is, typical licensing complaints plus added ethical issues are likely as the mental health professions evolve. This means that, whenever there is an indication of a possible complaint from a service user, today's mental health practitioner must, as part of the support services essential for practice, be prepared to rely on legal counsel.

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