Male therapist and female clientThis is my second post in my series regarding defending your Arizona counseling or social work license when a client complains that you had an inappropriate relationship. My last post gave an overview of what counselors can expect when someone files a complaint. Client-counselor relationships involve intense familiarity and subject matter. For this reason, clients can sometimes misunderstand the nature of their counselor’s concern. This can lead to escalating complications, including misinterpreted words, looks, and touch. If you find yourself facing such allegations you should contact a Phoenix licensing lawyer immediately.

Phoenix counselors may face false claims from clients whose feelings are not reciprocated or traumatized children

As in any situation in life, rejection is hard. Most counselors at one time or another have the experience of a client asking them out or otherwise romantically or sexually approaching them. It may be that the client misread signals or just that the client is interested. Whatever the circumstances leading to the client asking you out, when you reject them, the client will have negative feelings about that. Healthier individuals might feel a momentary pain and let it go. Less healthy individuals may feel resentment and even anger. Sometimes those people will act out and file complaints to the Board of Behavioral Health Professionals to punish you for rejecting them.

Children with traumatic upbringings, particularly teenagers, are also common sources of false complaints. Their history of abuse combined with a resistance to intimacy with an adult authority figure may lead to false accusations of inappropriate behavior. For example, if a parent brought in a child to speak to you and told you of the historical abuse, and after your interview you disclosed that abuse to the parent, the child could feel betrayed and accuse you. There are many scenarios under which an abused child could lash out at you as a responsible grown-up.

Though these allegations are false, it is imperative that Phoenix professionals must still defend themselves against them or risk losing their licenses.

Contact a Phoenix licensing lawyer immediately to protect your counseling or therapy license

It is important that the background and motivation of any person claiming you engaged in misconduct is thoroughly investigated. An attorney knows which avenues to pursue to help you protect your license. Licensees should understand that a complaint does not mean you will automatically lose your license. There is a process that the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (Board) are required to follow. They will conduct their own investigation and hear from your lawyer during their decision making process. For this reason it is imperative that you obtain counsel as soon as you are notified that a complaint is pending against you.

I am experienced handling hearings before the Board as well as the Arizona Office of Administrative hearings and I can help you protect your livelihood. Contact my office today to speak to a Phoenix licensing lawyer. I also service other Maricopa County cities such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert. I also assist Pima County residents in Tucson.

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