California psychologist Carol H. Atkinson disciplined for gross negligence and repeated negligent acts relative to psychological assessments

November 3, 2008

The California Board of Psychology revoked psychologist Carol H. Atkinson’s license.  However, revocation was stayed and she was placed on probation for three years with terms and conditions.  According to the Board’s charges, Atkinson committed Gross Negligence and Repeated Negligent Acts on multiple occasions.  Specifically, the charges state that Atkinson engaged in “extreme departures from the standard of care” in her assessment of a client who submitted to a psychological risk assessment in connection with her desire to adopt her brother’s son.  The document states that Atkinson wrongly concluded that the woman was suffering from bipolar disorder; generated faulty test results and faulty opinions could have caused extensive harm to the child’s development.  Further, Atkinson “failed to maintain an unbiased, objective stance in her report and negatively slanted her conclusions….”  She additionally failed to disclose to the court or other parties the role a graduate student (employee) played in scoring various tests incorrectly.  Atkinson made incorrect interpretive statements based on the tests, omitted favorable test interpretation and engaged in unwarranted speculation.  The Board’s document details two other instances involving two other individuals in which Atkinson committed the same types of negligence in testing and evaluation. Conditions of her probation include hiring a psychologist to monitor her practice and billing; an educational review and reimbursement of the Board’s investigation costs ($8,000).

(Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order, In the Matter of the Amended Accusation Against Carol H. Atkinson, License No. PSY 14698, California Board of Psychology, November 3, 2008.)


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