West Virginia Psychology Board Puts Barbara Nelson on Probation for "Intellectual Disability" Diagnosis

March 13, 2024

On July 28, 2022, the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists placed your colleague, South Charleston psychologist Barbara Nelson, MA, on probation and supervision for six months.  

The Board’s Consent Agreement and Order stated that Nelson breached the Board’s Code of Conduct regarding psychological assessments, including administration, scoring, interpretation, and analysis, and that she breached codes regarding report-writing. These practices failed to meet accepted standards. 

The Board’s investigation of Dr. Nelson was based on a complaint it received from patient “TB,” who took issue with Nelson’s conclusion that his alleged intellectual functioning will have a negative impact on his ability to parent. TB alleged that Nelson violated state code in that she issued a formal professional opinion about the fitness of a parent in a custody matter without having direct and substantial contact with that person. TB expressed concern that Nelson recommended that he take drug tests, although nobody claimed or asserted that he was using drugs. Further, TB expressed concern that Nelson alleged that she had held a video conference with him but that it in fact was only a telephone conference. 

The Boards’ review of TB’s Forensic Psychological Evaluation Report indicated that Nelson did not meet assessment procedures as set forth in West Virginia codes in that Nelson made a formal diagnosis of Intellectual Disability despite incomplete test data and clinical assessment information to support such diagnosis, and that an Intellectual Disability diagnosis should not have been made.

Source: Consent Agreement and Order, W. Va. Board of Examiners of Psychologists v. Barbara Nelson, MA (Lic. No. 1181), Case No. 2021-05, July 28, 2022.


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