Disgraced criminal psychologist Vito Zepinic attempts to redefine one's response to life's challenges as a mental disorder

August 8, 2012

On August 6, 2012, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) received a press release with the title "New, Serious Psych Disorder, Its Nature and Treatment in Book".  It was issued by or for Serbian-born psychologist Vitomir Zepinic, relative to his new book, The Self and Complex Trauma.

"Complex Trauma," says Zepinic "develops when the individual is subject to repeated traumas...and is incapable of escaping it for an extended period of time." 

Zepinic should know a lot about this. Due to poor choices on his part, he has been unable to escape from a bad reputation which resulted in his being unemployable. One could conclude that the only avenue left for him to make a living was to make up a "new" disorder and write a book about it as a way to reinvent himself as an expert...in a fictitious disorder. But, as you will see, Zepinic has been specializing in fiction for some time, according to Australian and UK authorities.

Dr. Zepinic says that Complex Trauma is "serious".  Of course, anyone who has ever gone through tough times--deaths of loved ones, reversals of fortune, broken releationships, disappointed expectations--knows how serious life feels during those times. But that is not "new" and it's certainly not a mental disorder.

Life can be traumatic. How you respond to that trauma is proof of your character but it's not a mental disorder.

About Zepinic:

Vitomir Zepinic left his native Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s for Australia, where he first registered as a psychologist in 1994. In May 1998, he applied to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for assessment of his specialist qualifications in psychiatry. The AMC required him to fulfill a period of supervised clinical practice before being eligible to sit for his examination as a psychiatrist. In February 2000, Zepinic filed an application with the Queensland Medical Board for a conditional medical registration, which would allow him to fill a training position in psychiatry. He applied for and was granted a renewal of his conditional registration in May 2001 to continue specialist training as “Senior Medical Officer – Psychiatry.” However, in March 2001, the AMC advised the medical Board that Zepinic was not entitled to advanced standing in medicine/psychiatry as his post-graduate training was in the non-medical subject of psychotherapy.

The reason for the Australian authorities' reassessment of Zepinic’s qualifications was acquisition of information from the institution in Yugoslavia from which Zepinic had graduated, which had not been available earlier due to the conflicts in Yugoslavia at the time. The Queensland Medical Board cancelled Zepinic's registration on May 14 2002 noting that he did not have a “valid registrable undergraduate qualification in medicine.”

Zepinic had falsely claimed to have medical degrees from Sarajevo and Belgrade universities and had misled the Medical Boards of New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland, Australia. The Australian licensing authority's Tribunal’s decision document lists 19 separate occasions between 1996 and 2009 when Zepinic misrepresented his qualifications to licensing boards/councils, prospective employers, a court of law and a publishing company, among others.

He was convicted August 18, 2008 on six counts of having misrepresented himself as a medical doctor. The Psychologists Tribunal of New South Wales subsequently banned Zepinic from practicing for five years. The decision was upheld on appeal on August 12, 2010. He may not reapply for licensure until August 2015.

On March 1, 2010, Zepinic resigned from his position as senior lecturer in psychiatry in the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (a position he obtained by misrepresenting his credentials) after school authorities confronted him about his 2008 criminal conviction.


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