State reprimands psychologist David T. Bice over "touch"

January 3, 2013

On October 8, 2012, the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners reprimanded David T. Bice, Ph.D. for unprofessional conduct; failure to avoid harm; failure to obtain informed consent and exceeding the boundaries of competence with regard to a teenage female patient.

According to the Board’s document, Bice engaged in “comforting touch” with the patient, which made her uncomfortable to the extent that “she will never see a male counselor again.” Bice additionally failed to make entries in the patient’s chart when he touched her, the rationale for touching, how the patient reacted, etc.; failed to get the patient’s full informed consent, relative to the use of touch in that the did not address the use of touch with the patient nor did he address it in his informed consent documents or the patient’s chart notes; exceeding the boundaries of competence by engaging in touch with the patient “without first establishing a strong therapeutic alliance and [failing] to monitor [the patient’s] reactions…and to make a corresponding chart note.”

In addition to the reprimand, Bice must successfully complete coursework in the areas of informed consent, patient charting and the use of touch during therapy and is also required to practice for a minimum of one year under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, among other things.


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