The years of training required to become a licensed psychologist in Texas means that a licensee has worked extremely hard to earn their stripes and go on to do a great deal of good for the mental health of our citizens. This, of course, includes licensure by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. This Board is charged with handling complaints made by the public—whether a patient or not—that claim a psychologist has behaved unprofessionally.
The procedures for both licensure and enforcement laid out by the Board comport to its mission to “protect the public by ensuring that psychological services are provided to the people of Texas by qualified and competent practitioners who adhere to established professional standards.” The protection of the public element of this mission is key to understanding a number of things about the complaint procedure. For one thing, a psychologist who finds they have had a complaint lodged against them must understand that the Board is not really on their side. In fact, the Board will be coming at them like a prosecutor goes to someone charged with a crime.
When a complaint is filed with the Board, it is sent to the Enforcement Division. Here agents first determine whether the individual complained of is a licensee. Then they check to ensure the acts alleged are within the jurisdiction of the Board for enforcement purposes. If it passes muster, the complaint will then be forwarded to an investigator assigned to the case. This is when the psychologist in question is informed, via written notification, about the existence of both the complaint and the now ongoing investigation. The Board gives psychologists thirty days to respond to this letter.
As soon as possible after receiving this notice, the licensed psychologist should contact a professional license defense attorney. This thirty-day window is not a suggestion. Failure to respond within the allotted time can result in disciplinary action while responding by the deadline with a defense that does not cover the necessary bases can make a complaint process worse.
The entire course of an investigation can be changed from the outset if a psychologist contacts a professional license defense attorney, like us here at BERTOLINO LLP, as soon as they are made aware of the complaint. The more time we have to create a strong defense, the better the psychologist is likely to fare.
We proudly represent licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. If you are facing disciplinary action from the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists for any reason, contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 to schedule a case evaluation. To best serve our clients, we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.