Psychologist Robert L. Howard censured by board for failure to properly supervise psych assistant

May 4, 2012

On March 17, 2012, the California Board of Psychology issued a Public Reproval against Robert L. Howard, Ph.D. for his failure to properly suprvise his psychology assistant, Kelly Cothran-Gagliardini as required by the state Business and Professions Code.

According to the Board’s Accusation document, between  June 2006 and February 7, 2007, Cothran-Gagliardini began providing counseling to “S.A.,” a six-year-old girl, for suspicions that she had been molested by her father. S.A.’s mother was involved with S.A.’s therapy but her father was not.

Cothran-Gagliardini, as a mandated reporter, notified the Department of Children and Family Services ("child protective services") that she suspected that S.A. was abused by her father.

Cothran-Gagliardini prepared a letter on the mother’s request, offering her observation that S.A. had suffered abuse by her father and recommended that the girl’s visits with her father be supervised. Cothran-Gagliardini did not inquire as to how the letter would be used. Howard, did not co-sign the letter.

The mother used the letter in a child custody court proceeding in which the court subsequently ruled that the father’s visits must be monitored.

Howard, who was aware of the case, failed to document or keep adequate records of his supervision of Cothran-Gagliardini; failed to ensure that she identify herself as a psychological assistant and failed to co-sign the letter prepared by Cothran-Gagliardini. In addition to the Public Reproval, Howard is required to reimburse the Board $2,000 for its costs of investigation and enforcement.

Source: Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against Robert L. Howard, Ph.D., License No. PSY 11758, Case No. 1F-2007-187739, California Board of Psychology. 


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