State issues charges against psychologist Michael G. Conner
March 17, 2011
On September 14, 2010 the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners issued a Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action on Michael G. Conner, Psy.D., seeking to reprimand him and impose a civil penalty of $5,000, among other things.
The Board’s document states that Conner provided therapy to a mother and her five-year-old child. The mother was the custodial parent of the child. The father of the child had sought visitation rights with the child but, due to “significant family conflict and legal action,” the father was ultimately sentenced to five years in jail. His parents (the child’s grandparents) initiated legal action to gain visitation rights with the child and a judge informed the parties that he was inclined to grant the grandparents visitation but directed all involved to conduct a “global assessment” conference.
Two conferences were held and Conner attended both and “unilaterally asserted himself into the discussion” and “continued to interject himself into the discussion between the attorneys without invitation by the attorneys” because he was concerned that the grandparents “might misrepresent and distort the facts.” In doing so, he departed from his role as a therapist for the mother and child, according to the Board.
Further, Conner “unilaterally placed limitations and conditions on the ability of the grandparents to meet with [the child]” including insisting that they drive 180 miles to meet with him first.
Lastly, Conner informed the mother’s attorney by letter that “evaluation of the family members by anyone other than myself at this time would be negligent and harmful. I would recommend that any attempt [by the grandparents] to seek visitation without consulting with me be met with strong objection. I am prepared to testify if necessary in this regard.”
The Board’s document states that Conner lacked the necessary neutrality to step into the role that he proposed as either child custody evaluator or to evaluate family members that were engaged in a legal dispute with the mother.
Source: Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action in the Matter of the License to Practice as a Psychologist of Michael G. Conner, Psy.D., Agency No. OBPE #2009-030, Before the Board of Psychologist Examiners, State of Oregon.
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