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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.