Arizona board places counselor P. Lauren Levy on probation for failures in treating suicidal patient

August 11, 2012

On May 18, 2012, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners placed licensed professional counselor P. Lauren Levy on probation with terms and conditions.

Levy began treating a client in May 2009 for issues of anxiety, anger management, raging at work, loss of a relationship, use of alcohol to self-medicate and childhood trauma.

During treatment, the client also presented with an increased risk for suicide/homicide. Levy’s records did not reflect that Licensee conducted any type of formal risk assessment before beginning treatment or that she conducted ongoing formal risk assessments of the client. The client also indicated remembering torturing cats as a child, believed that violence is the only thing that people understand, was unable to contain her anger at work, obtained a gun illegally, called her gun the "black widow", had "flashes" of the gun being in her mouth, and wrote, "...being alone with the hurt and that's where I am except for that shard of me that wants to kill people and shoot me...."

Although Levy documented that she "assessed" the client for suicidal ideation, she acknowledged that she failed to document any steps she completed to assess the client's suicide risk. There was no documentation indicating that Levy conducted any type of assessment regarding the client's risk of harming others.

Although Levy sent the client a letter terminating treatment and provided a referral list, Levy did not offer the client a closure session or work with the client towards transitioning to a new therapist.

Terms of probation include continuing education in the areas of current behavioral health documentation requirements and behavioral health risk assessments, among other things.

Source: Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners disciplinary action report, updated June 7, 2012.


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