WODONGA psychologist and counsellor Brian Hickman has been hit with a temporary ban from the Health Complaints Commissioner.
The move by commissioner Karen Cusack to temporarily ban Dr Hickman from advertising, offering or providing any general health services pending an investigation comes at a time when he is also presently banned from providing any professional supervision to other health service providers and from operating any business that provides general health services.
Ms Cusack said while Dr Hickman was suspended by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency from operating as a registered psychologist, counselling and psychotherapy services are general health services and therefore subject to a code of conduct for general health service providers under the Health Complaints Act 2016.
Ms Cusack said she was imposing the temporary ban to protect the public while the HCC conducted an investigation into a complaint alleging Mr Hickman had breached the code of conduct for general health service providers.
"The safety of Victorians is our No.1 priority and we will continue to investigate and, where appropriate, impose prohibition orders on those general health service providers who do the wrong thing and put the Victorian public at risk," she said.
"Any counsellor or psychotherapist practising in Victoria must adhere to the code of conduct and provide services in a safe and ethical manner.
"Counsellors/psychotherapists provide treatment at a time in their client's life when the person is very vulnerable and often dealing with deeply personal problems, trauma or mental health issues.
"Clients place a significant amount of trust in their counsellor/psychotherapist."
The HCC cannot comment on details of the alleged breach of the code of conduct.
The ban was effective from June 27 to September 19.
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