Mental Health Regulatory Agency compliance staff investigate complaints against Oregon psychologists, psychologist associates, psychologist residents, licensed professional counselors (LPCs), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs), LPC/LMFT registered interns, and others who may be acting in violation of the law (unlicensed practice).
The Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (BLPCT) is responsible for licensing and regulating LPCs, LMFTs, and registered interns under the authority of ORS 675.705 to 675.835.
The Board of Psychology (BOP) is responsible for licensing and regulating psychologists, psychologist associates, and residents under the authority of ORS 675.010 to 675.150.
The Board will investigate when it has reason to question the competency or conduct of a licensee, applicant, or any person alleged to be practicing in violation of Board law. Investigations are not always the result of an individual submitting a complaint; for example:
- A random continuing education audit that shows evidence of non-compliance with requirements.
- Newspaper articles or news broadcasts can create cause for further investigation.
- Disciplinary actions by other states or professional credentialing organizations.
- Inconsistencies or information coming as part of an application for licensure or renewal of licensure.
How to File a Complaint or Mandatory Report
Please complete and submit the form below to begin an investigation. If you have other documents that will help the Board investigate the case, please send copies with your submission.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ #2: Who can file a complaint?
- Anyone who has evidence to support their belief that a regulated practitioner is incompetent, impaired or has violated any Oregon laws and/or rules of the Board, including the ethical code.
- Licensees and interns/residents are bound by the Code of Ethics and are required to file a complaint with the Board if they believe another is or has violated Board regulations or is incompetent.
- Other licensed professionals.
- The Board itself may initiate a complaint.
FAQ #3: What types of complaints can be made?
- Title violation- claiming to be an Oregon psychologist, LPC, LMFT, registered intern, etc.
- Practicing beyond the scope of competence based on the licensee's education, training, study, supervision, consultation or professional experience (incompetence).
- Inability to practice as a result of mental illness, physical illness, substance abuse, or other impairment.
- Failure to distribute a professional disclosure statement (LPCs, LMFTs, and interns).
- Obtaining a license fraudulently by engaging in any conduct or by providing the Board information that is likely to deceive, defraud, misrepresent or omit.
- Failure to comply with mandatory/abuse reporting requirements.
- Breach of client confidentiality.
- A violation of the code of professional conduct or any other violation of Board law or rule.
FAQ #4: How do I file a complaint?
- Anonymous complaints are discouraged, however, may be accepted contingent upon clear and convincing evidence and that the information submitted with a standard Confidential Report Form is specific enough to support a violation of Board rules or laws.
- All complete complaints submitted on the standard Confidential Report Form will be investigated. You may submit your Confidential Report Form via fax or postal mail. The Confidential Report Form link can be found on our home page and at the bottom of this page. If you are unable to access the Confidential Report Form online, please contact the Board's program assistant who will mail one to you.
- Not everyone has neat handwriting. For this reason, you are encouraged to submit a typed Confidential Report Form or asked to please write legibly.
- Your Confidential Report Form may be rejected/returned if Board staff are unable to read or discern information provided on the form.
FAQ #6: How long does the complaint process take?
- It's not quick. The Board is mindful of resources and meets only every other month. Board staff have 120 days before a case should be presented before the Board, however, for just cause, the Board may grant extensions as seen fit. Typically it takes three to five months before a case is fully prepared and heard by the Board. Investigations involving multiple allegations and many witnesses may take even longer. If the Board proposes to take disciplinary action, the Administrative Procedures Act guarantees due process for the accused. If a Contested Hearing is requested, it can sometimes take several months before a hearing date is set.
- Public protection is the Board's primary concern, and all alleged violations of Board rules or laws are important. Therefore cases involving allegations of a sexual nature, boundary issues or allegations with victims involving vulnerable populations will most often take priority over violations of other standards.
- Complaints are otherwise addressed in the order they are received.
FAQ #7: Will I be told if a complaint is filed against me?
- Generally, yes. The Board is not required to immediately notify a respondent that a complaint has been filed against them. Additionally, during the screening process, if the allegations against the respondent do not clearly present a violation of Board rules or laws, then the Board has no reason to contact the respondent.
FAQ #8: Will I be told if I am being investigated?
- Respondents will be notified of any official investigation opened that presents evidence to support a violation of Board rules or laws may have occurred. If the counselor/therapist/psychologist in question is not a Licensee or applicant, or the allegations do not indicate a violation of Board rule or law then the complaint will be rejected and there is no need to notify or contact the Respondent.
FAQ #9: What happens when an official investigation is opened?
- The Respondent will be notified, in writing, that the Board is conducting an investigation into the allegations. The allegations will be summarized. In most cases, the Respondent will not be told what generated the investigation.
- When the Respondent is notified they will be asked to respond to the allegations within 21 days. The Respondent will be given the identity of and means to contact the assigned investigator. The investigator may talk to people who have knowledge of the situation, gather or identify evidence, interview witnesses and file a report. The report may include opinion and recommendations, but will usually just present the facts or information as discovered.
FAQ #10: Will others have access to the information gathered during the investigation? Will the Respondent have access to it?
- No. Only the Board and their assigned Assistant Attorney General sees the investigator's report and has access to all the information gathered. The Board will determine if it has reason to believe or suspect a Respondent violated any of the laws, rules and/or ethical standards.
- If it finds a violation, then the Board will decide if disciplinary action will be taken. For example, the Board may propose: denial of licensure or registration, suspension of license and ability to practice, revocation of license, civil penalty, formal reprimand, or issue a letter of concern (informal).
- The Board's decision to dismiss or impose discipline is made by a public vote. Case numbers are used until there is a majority vote to impose discipline. Then the Respondent's name and the proposed discipline becomes public and is reflected on the Board website and in the Board minutes.
FAQ #11: What happens if the Board initiates disciplinary action?
- The Board issues a "Notice of Intent to...." which lays the foundation of the types of discipline the Board is intending to impose. This legal document will list the laws and/or rules the Board believes the respondent violated.
- The Notice will allow the respondent a specific amount of time (generally 21 days; 60 days for licensure application denials) to request a contested hearing. Once the Notice is issued, it becomes a public record.
- If the respondent fails to request a contested hearing within the time allowed, or the Respondent requests a hearing but fails to appear, the respondent will stand in default and the Board will impose the sanction via a Default Order.
- If the respondent requests a contested hearing, one will be scheduled. Hearings are held before an independent Administrative Law Judge, that will be provided by the Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings. The Administrative Law Judge has no affiliation with either the Board or the respondent.
- The respondent may represent him or herself, or obtain legal counsel. The Board is represented by an Assistant Attorney General that is provided by the Department of Justice.
- These administrative contested hearings are similar to court hearings, but more informal. Evidence will be presented and witnesses will be called by both sides to testify under oath.
- After the contested hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will issue a "proposed order" with findings of fact and conclusions of law (innocence, guilt, guilt with extenuating circumstance) and a recommendation for final action (dismissal, reprimand, suspension, suspension with conditions for reinstatement, revocation, etc.).
- Then the Board will review the Administrative Law Judge's findings, recommendations, and any exceptions filed by the respondent. The Board may adopt the proposed order as presented, as amended, or may make its own findings and order. The result is often called a "Final Order." This is also public record.
- In the event of an adverse decision, the respondent has 60 days within which to file a request for judicial review by the Court of Appeals. This process can take several years.
- Final disciplinary actions are reported to the National Practitioner DataBank and other national disciplinary networks. The Board may also issue a press release if necessary.
FAQ #12: Is there another way to handle this other than a contested case hearing?
- Yes! After the Board gives notice of its plan to take disciplinary action, informal resolution can be negotiated through a stipulated order, settlement agreement, or consent order. The Respondent (or their legal counsel) and the Board's representative (Lead Investigator or Assistant Attorney General) may discuss compromise proposals. The Board must agree with any proposed settlement.
- For example, the Board may withdraw its proposed action, if the respondent admits guilt and accepts a lesser sanction, such as a reprimand; or the Board may allow the respondent to maintain their innocence but will accept corrective action sanctions such as additional training, prolonged supervision, or some combination amenable to the Board.
FAQ #13: What about my record?
- Complaints and investigative information are confidential and will not be released. The Board and its staff will not disclose the existence of a complaint. However, if the investigation leads to a disciplinary action, the official documents (Notice and Order) must be released pursuant to law.
- Any formal discipline imposed will be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.