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Archive for the ‘psychologist’ Category

Psychologist indicted for sexual misconduct with patient: “I’m a sex addict”

In psychologist, sexual exploitation by a psychotherapist on February 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Psychologist indicted for sexual misconduct; coerced patient into sex act under threatened of extended hospitalization
February 8, 2011

A psychologist at a southwest suburban mental health center was ordered was formally charged Friday with sexual misconduct with a disabled patient.

Dr. Robert Eizenga, 66, of Tinley Park, was charged Jan. 19 with one count each of sexual misconduct with a disabled person and official misconduct, according to Chicago Police.

On Jan. 20, he was ordered held on $150,000 bond, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. Add on Friday, Eizenga was indicted on the charges, according to state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Eizenga, a forensic psychologist, has been employed by the state Dept. of Human Services for more than 20 years, according to the state’s attorney’s office.

At the time of the alleged incidents, he was working at the Tinley Park Mental Health Center at 7400 W. 183rd St. as court liaison to the state’s attorney’s office and the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission.

Court records show that on April 25, 2010, a 45-year-old woman was admitted as an inpatient suffering from depression. A few days after she was admitted, Eizinga took her into a conference room and said he would try to help her.

A couple of days later, he told the victim he had a “sex addiction,” was going to get divorced and was going make the victim “feel better.” He allegedly pulled his chair closer to hers, rubbed her leg and said he could get her a job, prosecutors said.

He then fondled her, exposed himself and told the victim to perform a sex act on him, threatening that he could keep her in the facility or send her to the Read Mental Health Center if she did not comply, prosecutors allege.

She performed oral sex because she believed he would force her to remain at the center, though she was there voluntarily. prosecutors said.

After a second similar encounter, the victim told her sister, who made numerous calls to the center trying to have her sister discharged. On the day the victim was discharged, Eizenga went to her room and gave her $20 and his business card, prosecutors said.

Eizenga later called the woman and bought her a cell phone using the name “Sam Doe.’’ He later gave her $100 to “keep her mouth shut,’’ court records show. On May 12, 2010, the victim called the facility to make a complaint and Eizinga was placed on administrative leave.

On Oct. 13, an Illinois State Police Special Agent placed Eizenga under arrest and he gave a handwritten statement admitting he told the victim he had a sex addiction and was getting divorced, but he claimed the victim wanted to have sex with him.

He admitted he fondled her and gave her $20, but said the woman asked for $500 and a bus ticket to Atlanta, according to the state’s attorney’s office. He said he then stopped communicating with her.

Source: “Psychologist indicted for sexual misconduct with patient,” Chicago Sun-Times, February 4, 2011.

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California psychologist Robert S. “Dr. Bob” Weathers surrenders license; engaged in sex with former patient

In psychologist, sexual exploitation by a psychotherapist on December 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

On February 24, 2010 the California Department of Consumer Affairs Board of Psychology accepted the surrender of Robert Stanley Weathers, Ph.D.’s license to practice psychology.

According to the Board’s Accusation and Stipulated Surrender of License and Order, Weathers engaged in a sexual relationship with a former patient he later married and subsequently abandoned.

The Accusation states that between November 1, 2002 and December 10, 2002, “S.W.,” a female, was an in-patient at the Passages drug rehabilitation facility in Malibu, California, receiving treatment for her cocaine use. Weathers was her primary therapist and met with her twice a week for therapy.

S.W. developed a crush on Weathers early in her therapy. He became aware of this when another female patient told him that S.W. liked him.

After Weathers learned of S.W.’s attraction, their next therapy session was on the beach, where he told her he was aware of her attraction. The document states that he told her they could not begin a romantic relationship for two years (without risking disciplinary action against his license).

He told her he had been romantically involved with a graduate student while he was a professor at Pepperdine University. He ended up leaving her and she reported their relationship to the Dean, who subsequently asked for Weathers’ resignation. Weathers lost his professorship and tenure as a result of the relationship.

S.W. completed her treatment at Passages and went home to New Hampshire. Soon after, they began to correspond via e-mail. Their friendly exchanges continued until February 2003, when the messages became more intimate. Soon after, she flew back to California where they visited. Sexual intercourse ensued. This was only two months after the conclusion of the patient-therapist relationship.

In December 2003, Weathers resigned from Passages, relocated to New Hampshire and moved in with S.W. and her children. They were engaged on February 14, 2005 and married February 14, 2006. During the entire period, Weathers engaged in sexual intercourse with S.W.

In October 2006, Weathers flew to California to work at Passages for a week and had what S.W. described as a “meltdown,” after which he told S.W. he really wanted to move back to California. Weathers left S.W. in January 2007.

Later that year, they talked about getting back together. S.W. had arranged for them to attend some sort of marriage therapy in Seattle, Washington. Weathers told her that he would attend the therapy but then backed out.

Weathers is currently an unlicensed “life coach” in Malibu, California, where he specializes in, among other things, “couples communication” and “rehab aftercare.”

Source: Accusation and Stipulated Surrender of License and Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against Robert Weathers, Ph.D., Case No. 1F-2008-190012, Before the Board of Psychology, Department of Consumer Affairs, State of California.

Human rights group asks court to order probe of Gitmo psychologist

In psychologist, SERE training, torture, waterboarding on December 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

A court was asked Wednesday to force an investigation into whether an Army psychologist developed abusive interrogation techniques for detainees at Guantanamo Bay and should be stripped of his license.

The court petition, filed by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability and the New York Civil Liberties Union, furthers human rights advocates’ efforts to spur probes of some psychologists involved in detainee interrogations. Critics argue that the psychologists’ activities amount to professional misconduct and that state regulators should look into the matter.

Last summer, the California center filed a complaint about John Leso with New York’s Office of Professional Discipline, which oversees psychologists. Leso is licensed in New York; Army spokespeople didn’t immediately respond to inquiries Wednesday about him and where he could be reached.

While leading a behavioral science consultation team at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 and 2003, Leso developed “psychologically and physically abusive interrogation tactics” based on Army survival strategies, said the complaint, which drew on government documents, academic journal articles and other sources. The complaint said Leso wrote a memo promoting techniques such as exposing detainees to severe cold, depriving them of sleep and forcing liquids into them intravenously.

The agency declined in July to pursue a probe of Leso, saying his Army work fell outside its scope.

“It does not appear that any of the conduct complained of constitutes the practice of psychology as understood in the state of New York,” Director Louis J. Catone wrote in a letter to the California center. As for larger questions about the appropriateness of detainee interrogation methods, he said, “It is not within this office’s purview to express an opinion on that issue.”

A spokesman declined to comment on Wednesday’s court filing. It asks a judge to tell the agency to investigate the allegations that Leso’s conduct warrants revoking his license, or other discipline.

“We think that the professional standards that prohibit abuse or harassment — that prohibit, generally, misconduct — would generally cover abusing detainees and devising ways to hurt people in a professional role,” said Kathy Roberts, a lawyer with the Center for Justice and Accountability. It focuses on deterring torture.

Psychologist licensing boards in California, Louisiana and New York have rejected such complaints. But the American Psychological Association voted in 2008 to ban its members from taking part in interrogations at the Guantanamo prison and other military detention sites where the professional group believes international law is being violated.

The APA took an unprecedented step this year by encouraging Texas officials to revoke the license of James Mitchell, a retired Army psychologist accused of overseeing the torture of a CIA detainee in Thailand in 2002. Mitchell said the complaint against him, filed by a law professor, was full of “fabricated details, lies, distortions and inaccuracies.”

In a complaint filed last summer with Ohio’s psychologist licensing board, Harvard University’s International Human Rights Clinic said retired Army Col. Larry James observed abusive interrogations at Guantanamo in 2003, 2007 and 2008 and didn’t do anything to stop them. James has declined to comment; the Ohio board declined to pursue a similar complaint against him in 2008.

Source: “Court asked to order probe of Gitmo psychologist,” Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2010.

Florida state hospital psychologist Jeffrey Benoit loses license; had sex with patient, married her

In psychologist, sexual exploitation by a psychotherapist on November 24, 2010 at 5:30 pm

On November 10, 2010, the state of Florida revoked the license of psychologist Jeffrey Lynn Benoit after he violated multiple laws while employed at Florida State Psychiatric Hospital at Chattahoochie.

On July 7, 2010, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) issued an Administrative Complaint against Benoit, accusing him of having sexual relations with a patient, then marrying her while he was still married to his first wife. The DOH’s complaint states that the patient was committed to Chatahoochie in February 2008 following the commission of two incidents of arson (which the woman stated were suicide attempts) and that by May, Benoit began having sexual relations with the woman in his office at the hospital.

In July 2008, she was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the arson cases and ordered committed, remaining in the Florida State Hospital. Benoit’s unit supervisor asked him to stop treating the patient because “he seemed to be losing objectivity” with regard to her. She was transferred to the care of another psychologist.

Despite not being her doctor and against orders, he advocated for the woman’s release, resulting the hospital removing him from all resident contact and responsibilities the next day.

The day the woman was released, a hospital employee reported seeing Benoit at the woman’s home.

Before long, Benoit and the woman were living together. Benoit came under hospital internal investigation and resigned shortly thereafter.

DOH’s complaint states that a warranty deed shows Benoit and the woman bought a home together in February 2009 and a certificate of marriage from Houston County, Ala., shows they were married in March 2009 – while Benoit was still legally married to his first wife.

The former patient gave birth to a son in March 2010, the birth certificate naming Benoit as the father. They were both arrested a month later on domestic violence charges, according to the Department of Health complaint.

Benoit is currently wanted in Jackson County, Florida for failure to appear to answer to a battery charges. A warrant for his arrest was issued September 10, 2010.

Source: Administrative Complaint, Florida Department of Health v. Jeffrey Lynn Benoit, Ph.D., Case No. 2008-22227 and Morgan Carlson and Deborah Buckhalter, “Psychiatrist’s license revoked,” Jackson County Floridian, 21 November 2010.

Psychologist Graham P. Holbrook suspended for bizarre, sexual incidents

In psychologist on September 21, 2010 at 10:59 am

On July 13, 2010, the Psychologists Tribunal of New South Wales (Australia) cancelled the registration of psychologist Graham Patrick Holbrook for three years (equivalent to a revocation, during which he may not reapply or seek registration).

Holbrook was employed by the Department of Education as a school counselor in schools in New South Wales from 2002 to 2006, when the incidents which form the basis of the complaint against him occurred.

Holbrook was found by the Tribunal to have engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct, professional misconduct and to be not of good character. These findings were based on the following:

In approximately May 2002, at school meetings, Holbrook make comments which were inappropriate, particularly words to the effect of “I like to ogle the high school girls in their gym skirts” and “Gee, I love my job. All those young girls in gym skirts.”

“I am a psychologist and I work in local schools, but the money is terrible. I am thinking about taking photos of young girls for extra money.  Would it bother you if I took photos of your daughter for the internet…photos for dirty old men?”

In approximately June 2002, Holbrook, in an interview/counseling session with a student, asked that student words to the effect of “Do you masturbate?” and “Do you ever masturbate in front of anyone?”

On February 23, 2004, during an interview/counseling session with another child, Holbrook pulled the chair in which the child was sitting toward him, placed his hands on the child’s thighs and moved his hands up the child’s thighs moving the hemline of her skirt up her thighs. When the child pushed herself away from him, he said words to the effect of “Sorry, you’re just such a tease.”

Though required to keep the door to his office open so that both he and whomever he was interviewing could be seen by passersby (in accordance with policy), the Tribunal’s document states that he locked and/or failed to keep the door open sufficiently during instances in 2004 and 2006.

On approximately July 24 or 25, 2006, Holbrook obtained the personal mobile phone number of a female student from the psychologist’s office at one the schools he worked it. A few days later, he said spoke to the student, words to the effect “Are you free on the weekend?” and “I thought maybe we could catch up.” Later on that day, he called the student and stated words to the effect “Are you still okay to talk to me” and “Don’t tell anyone about this because I could lose my job or worse.”

In approximately December 2006, while at a hair salon, Holbrook made inappropriate comments and/or asked questions of the staff, to the effect of “I am a psychologist and I work in local schools, but the money is terrible. I am thinking about taking photos of young girls for extra money,” and “Would it bother you if I took photos of your daughter for the internet…photos for dirty old men?” and “Do you know of any young girls who I could photograph for men to look at?”

He was deemed a risk to children and young people.

Source: HCCC v Holbrook [2010] NSWPST 5 (13 July 2010), Matter Number: PST 006/2009, PS 0060257, Inquiry under Section 109 In the Matter of Graham Patrick Holbrook.

Psychologist Christine E. Frydenborg suspended for three years

In psychologist on August 23, 2010 at 6:52 pm

On October 16, 2009, the State of New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice (“Board”) suspended psychologist Christine E. Frydenborg’s (aka Christine F. Dargon) license for not less than three years for engaging in multiple relationships.

In August 2007, the Board received a complaint from a former patient of Frydenborg’s, alleging that she developed multiple relationships with the patient and her family involving participation in Frydenborg’s theatre company and other social relationships which later deteriorated.  The patient claimed that these multiple relationships caused emotional harm to the family and the loss of the beneficial aspects of the therapeutic relationship.

Frydenborg began treating the patient in November 2006 and further began a treatment relationship with the patient’s husband and one of her three children.  Frydenborg encouraged the daughter to become involved in a community theatre group to boost her self-confidence.  The patient and her family became involved in two theatre productions that Frydenborg produced, directed and acted in.

The patient invited Frydenborg to one child’s birthday party, which Frydenborg attended briefly.  Further, the patient and her husband installed a new floor in Frydenborg’s in-home office and helped move her office into the in-home office.  The patient and her husband refused monetary payment for the services but did accept payment in the form of a one-week stay in Frydenborg’s time-share in the Berkshires on the condition that Frydenborg joined them.  She agreed and vacationed with them in a neighboring unit during the same one-week period.

Frydenborg failed to maintain accurate treatment and billing records for each family member and the services provided for each and further failed to provide a complete copy of the patient’s treatment record to an outside agency that requested the copy to determine the patient’s eligibility for the agency’s benefits.

Frydenborg failed to appropriately seek professional assistance to address her concerns relating to resolving the boundary transgressions with the patient and her family and failed to appropriately terminate her treating the patient and family members.

Source: Settlement Agreement in the Matter of Christine Frydenborg, Ph.D., license no. 929, State of New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice, October 16, 2009.

Milwaukee psychologist charged with sexual exploitation of patients; attorney admits sex did occur

In psychologist, sexual exploitation by a psychotherapist on August 15, 2010 at 3:03 pm

MILWAUKEE – A psychologist who has a Mount Pleasant office allegedly sexually exploited two patients, according to a criminal complaint filed this week in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Jeffrey A. Adamczak, 47, Oak Creek, faces two counts of sexual exploitation by a therapist. Each comes with the possible penalty of 7 1/2 years in prison.

Two women told Oak Creek police they had sexual contact with Adamczak while they were seeing him for therapy. According to court records, the alleged incidents took place at his Oak Creek office, 8825 S. Howell Ave. Adamczak is the executive director of and a psychologist with Psychological and Counseling Services; his office here is at 6929 Mariner Drive in Mount Pleasant.

Adamczak’s attorney, Gerald P. Boyle, said his client denies anything sexual happened while he was treating the women. Boyle said they intend to fight the allegations.

“We’re ready for this game,” Boyle said. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. We’re prepared to go into court and battle this one out. … We fully expect that we will prevail.”

Boyle said the question in this case is not whether or not there was any sexual contact between Adamczak and either of the women, but whether it occurred while he was either woman’s therapist.

“The only question here is did it occur when they were doctor and patient,” Boyle said. “It did not. It did not. Later a relationship existed, but I’m not going to go into that more.”

(Editor’s note: Mr. Boyle is apparently unaware that though he may get his client’s criminal charges dismissed due to the possibility that sex did not occur during therapy or during the patient-therapist relationship, that sexual activity with a patient or former patient within two years of the termination of professional services may be grounds for disciplinary actions [such as suspension or revocation of Adamczak’s license] by the state Board of Psychology.)

The first woman told police she began seeing Adamczak for therapy in February 2002. While she was a patient, she said, Adamczak said things like “My wife asked me out of all my patients is there anyone you would be interested in and I told her you,” and that “If you were with me I would treat you like the queen you are.”

The woman said she filed for divorce in February 2005. A week later, she said, she went to give Adamczak a hug at the end of her session, which was routine. She said he spun her around and touched her genitals. They then kissed, she told police, and had sex on his office couch the next day.

After that, the woman said, Adamczak told her she could no longer be considered his patient and that there would be no further record of her visits. A patient termination summary was signed on March 1, 2005, and she said their relationship lasted through February 2006.

The second woman said she was a patient of Adamczak’s from mid-2001 until January 2005. She said at the end of a session in October 2004, Adamczak hugged her, and that they hugged at the end of each session after that. During her Dec. 23, 2004 session the woman said she “got the sense that Adamczak was looking at her differently,” according to the criminal complaint. At the end of the session, the woman said Adamczak kissed her, then turned her around and touched her genitals and breasts.

The woman said her last session with Adamczak was on Jan. 6, 2005. She said she went to the session because she was very confused and wanted to find out what had happened. She said Adamczak never mentioned the touching, and that they decided she would no longer see him as a therapist. At the end of the session the woman told police Adamczak said “If you lose the 60 pounds you want to lose, I’ll get the hotel room.”

Adamczak made his initial appearance on the charges Friday afternoon. He was given a $1,000 signature bond, and ordered not to have contact with the women, their families or places of employment. The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing shows his license is active, though a spokesman said Adamczak is the subject of an open investigation.

Source: Janine Anderson, “Therapist charged with having sexual relations with patients,” Journal Times, August 13, 2010.

California custody evaluator Roy W. Bradbury admitted under oath that he was unqualified to serve in the courts

In 730 evaluation, Divorce and custody, psychologist on August 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm

The man who did psychological evaluations of children involved in divorce cases in San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange counties, guiding the courts in determining custody, and whose recommendations controlled the fate of thousands of individuals for over a decade took his own life earlier this year.

The death of Dr. Roy W. Bradbury, who was a court appointed expert for so-called 730 evaluations, has thrown into question the validity of the determinations that were made in hundreds of divorce cases in San Bernardino County.

Bradbury worked with lawyers, known as minor counsels, who were appointed by the court to represent children caught in the middle of the divorce of their parents.

Bradbury admitted under oath that he had lacked the proper licensing updates with regard to domestic violence since 2003.

Those minor counsels would recommend interviews with and reports on the children, known as 730 evaluations, to determine the child’s state of mind, preference toward one parent or the other and to make an evaluation as to which parent should get primary custody of the child.

For his work, Bradbury was paid $120 per hour, or in the neighborhood of $10,000 to $15,000 for each 730 evaluation he delivered.

In virtually all cases in which Bradbury was brought in as an expert witness, the court made a custody decision in accordance with his recommendations.

Bradbury was deemed so credible, that judges routinely overlooked contradictory opinions rendered by other psychologists or evaluators brought in on the same cases.

For years, however, critics have alleged that Bradbury was capricious, arbitrary or biased in his findings and that he in fact lacked the requisite training and licensing to function in the role of an expert psychological  witness.

Within the last 12 months, evidence to undergird those accusations emerged. In September 2009, according to court records, Bradbury admitted under oath that he had lacked the proper licensing updates with regard to domestic violence since 2003.  Such a lack of credentials rendered him unqualified under the family law code to serve as an evaluator.

Despite Bradbury’s possession of a PhD. in psychology from USC, he was unable to pass the state of California’s licensing exam as a psychologist.

Earlier this year, as information about his lack of training and his fraudulent licensing spread, rumors were rife that Bradbury was on the verge of departing the United States and seeking some form of refuge in Costa Rica.

A little more than two months ago, he died by his own hand. His action in taking his own life brings into question his own mental stability, and by extension, the validity of the thousands of conclusions he provided about the mental state of others.

On Saturday May 29, according to the Los Angeles Coroner’s Office, Bradbury who resided in Walnut, drove to an industrial park in the city of Industry. There, at 21508 Ferrero Parkway, a spot secluded by railroad tracks and relatively isolated and remote buildings, Bradbury shot himself while in his vehicle.

According to the coroner’s office, Bradbury expired from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Two years ago, a website, http://courtlawabusers.blogspot.com/2008/11/dr-roy-bradbury.html, was set up for the purpose of chronicling complaints with regard to Bradbury.

Since that time, questions about his level of competency, his bias and his tendency to make findings that were considered damaging to children have mushroomed. That adverse publicity may have played a role in the more recent revelations about his lack of accreditation.

Despite those revelations, San Bernardino County Superior Court has maintained Bradbury on its experts list for psychologists.

In one case, an eight year old girl was removed from the custody of her mother. Subsequently, tapes of Bradbury’s sessions with the girl surfaced in which Bradbury could be heard screaming at the child. One counseling professional who has heard the tapes told the Sentinel the tapes demonstrated Bradbury was mocking a child under stress and was not engaged in a therapeutic relationship with his client.

In the aftermath of his death, dozens of Bradbury’s 730 evaluations are due for consideration in various courts in Southern California. Motions to strike several of those evaluations as evidence are now being prepared.

Source:  “Suicide Claims Bradbury,” San Bernardino County Sentinel, August 6, 2010.

Psychologist Anne Marie Wells disciplined by board for sexual affair with patient

In psychologist on July 26, 2010 at 4:30 pm

On May 17, 2010, the Indiana State Psychology Board placed Anne Marie Wells, Ph.D on probation for no less than three years.

According to the Board’s Final Order, Wells provided counseling services to a married female patient during the fall of 1999.

Wells admitted to a romantic and sexual relationship with the patient, beginning approximately one month after the termination of the clinical relationship.  The patient separated from her husband during this time.

During the sessions, the patient told Wells she’d developed “romantic feelings” for her. Wells conferred with her supervisor and they determined that the patient might be experiencing transference. Wells however continued to treat the patient for approximately a year.

Wells began to develop “romantic feelings” for the patient during the time she treated her and eventually terminated the clinical relationship but remained in contact with the patient via telephone.

Wells admitted to a romantic and sexual relationship with the patient, beginning approximately one month after the termination of the clinical relationship.  The patient separated from her husband during this time.  The relationship between Wells and the patient continued for three years.  Terms of her probation include practice monitoring.

Source: Final Order in the Matter of the License of Anne Marie Wells, Ph.D, License Number 20041315A, Before the State Psychology Board, Cause Number 2010 ISPB 001.

State places psychologist George W. Berry on probation for sexual e-mails to patient

In psychologist on July 26, 2010 at 4:25 pm

On September 25, 2009, the Indiana State Psychology Board placed George W. Berry, Ph.D on probation for four years for violations of state code governing the practice and behavior of psychologists.

The Board cited particularly that Berry “continued to practice although he had become unfit to practice due to a failure to keep abreast of current theory and practice.”

According to the Board’s document, Berry violated professional boundaries with the patient in e-mails he sent to her.

Berry treated the patient during ten sessions between March 5, 2008 and August 13, 2008.  On August 14, she sent an e-mail asking for advice on how to handle her recent break-up with her boyfriend and the subsequent feelings of sadness and remorse.

“…I would love to take care of all your physical, emotional and personal needs.  I’m relatively stable psychologically, financially comfortable, intellectually adequate and sexually adept.”

Berry’s reply, which was noted by the Board to be lengthy, contained the statement, “As far as no one ever wanting you, you can rest assured there.  You are an attractive and interesting person with much offer.  I remember thinking that…before I even knew you very well.  If I were a few years younger I might have hit on you myself.”

Following the patient’s reply, Berry sent another lengthy message which stated, among other things, “First thing I want to get on board is that I would love to take care of all your physical, emotional and personal needs.  I’m relatively stable psychologically, financially comfortable, intellectually adequate and sexually adept.”  He states that it is probably delusional on his part but that “I’d be willing to take the risk.”  The message included a drawing from a tantric text depicting a man and woman engaged in sex.

Source: Findings of Fact, Ultimate Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order In the Matter of the License of George W. Berry, Ph.D, License No. 20040577A, Before the State Psychology Board, Cause No. 2009- ISPB 0001.