Melbourne Psychologist David Jones Suspended for Kissing Patient

August 23, 2022

On August 19, 2022, the Psychology Board of Australia reprimanded Melbourne psychologist David Jones and suspended him from practice for one year due to professional misconduct with a female patient.

In November 2017, Jones began treating the patient, who presented with complex issues, including childhood sexual abuse.

Although he sought to assist his patient, the case was beyond Jones’ clinical ability. The care he provided was inadequate. Amongst other things, he failed to take a proper history, make a proper diagnosis, undertake adequate risk assessments, formulate a treatment plan, or seek professional supervision or consultation as required for this difficult case. After the sixth and final consultation on 3 April 2018, he did not refer the patient to another suitably qualified psychologist, so that she could receive appropriate treatment thereafter.

Jones also failed to make adequate clinical notes.

In addition to these matters, Jones engaged in escalating uninvited physical contact with the patient. In the fourth consultation (26 February 2018) he kissed her on the back of her hand. While not defending his action, and acknowledging that his behavior displayed a lack of judgement, Jones explained that this was in response to a breakthrough in communication with his client: During the consultation she had disclosed to him that she had previously been engaged as a sex worker.

In the fifth consultation (14 March 2018) he kissed her on the cheek. At the end of the sixth and last consultation (3 April 2018), he kissed her on the lips. He walked her to the door of the premises and hugged her when she left the consultation.

The patient perceived that Jones’ conduct towards her on these three occasions was sexual in nature. This is particularly so in relation to the kisses on her cheeks and lips, which followed her having revealed to Jones during the fourth consultation that she had formerly worked as a sex worker.

As a result of Jones’ conduct, the patient states that she felt dirty, as she had previously been the victim of sexual assault and she had revealed a lot of private things to Jones during the consultations.

Further, the patient states that she has now lost trust in psychologists, in circumstances where she has previously, and would continue to, benefit from psychological services to deal with the trauma she has suffered.

Source: Psychology Board of Australia v Jones (Review and Regulation) [2022] VCAT 959 (19 August 2022), Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Administrative Division.


No comments.

Post your own comment here:

Your Comment