How to File a Complaint
Psychologists are regulated by state or provincial licensing boards or
colleges.If you want to make a complaint against a psychologist, you
should contact the Licensing Board or College in
the State or Province where the psychologist is licensed or registered,
as the specific procedures for filing a complaint may vary from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction.In many cases, there may be direct links
to the complaints process. For contact information for the licensing
authority in your jurisdiction, see "Board Contact Information" under Psychology Practice Info.
There are a number of options available to you if you are dissatisfied
with the services your psychologist has offered you and you want to take
some kind of action. See "Your Rights as a Consumer" for more information regarding those options.
To File a Complaint
The licensing boards can give
you detailed information about the complaint filing process and discuss
your situation with you. There are several ways to file a complaint
which may include, but are not limited to, filing a complaint form,
sending an email or writing a letter. Many jurisdictions require the
following information:your name, address and telephone number; the
psychologist's name, address and telephone number; a description of
your complaint; copies of any documentation available (for example,
letters, bill receipts, cancelled checks or pictures); and names,
addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses. Check with the
licensing board in your jurisdiction for detailed information about the
complaint filing and investigative process, including what information
they require. Not all licensing boards will accept or act on anonymous
letters of complaint.
Jurisdictions have varying
procedures about identifying patients in public documents as well as
whether hearings are open to the public. In some jurisdictions, the laws
require that the identity of the complainant be kept confidential
throughout the board's process. In other jurisdictions, there is the
possibility that confidentiality may be jeopardized during the
investigation process or at the hearing itself. If you are concerned
about this, discuss it with the licensing board or its investigator.
Part of the licensing board's
duty is to protect the public. By filing a complaint, even though
difficult, you may help the board protect other potential patients from
similar misconduct by a psychologist. The disciplinary process can take a long time from the time a complaint is received to the time a final decision is made.