MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS LICENSE DEFENSE
Texas Mental Health Professionals License Defense Attorneys
If you are a counselor or a social worker and you have been charged with a professional impropriety that could ultimately cost you your job and your license, you are likely concerned – and rightly so – about how you can protect your good name and your ability to continue helping people.
At the Leichter Law Firm, we understand your concerns and the challenges you are facing, and we may be able to help. Our dedicated Texas mental health professionals license defense attorneys have a history of providing people in your position with the legal protection they need. If you are a marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, or social worker and you are concerned about protecting your license, please contact us today by calling 512-495-9995.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists (LMFT)
Consistent with the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists Act (Texas Occupations Code § 502.001 et. al.), the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists has the authority to regulate the practice and licensing of marriage and family therapists (LMFT) in the State of Texas. The LMFT Board is charged with adopting its own rules, investigating potential infringements of the Act, adjudicating alleged violations, and imposing sanctions including the revocation or suspension of a therapist’s license.
Under Texas Occupations Code § 502.351 and § 801.292 of the Texas Administrative Code, the Board may discipline a licensed therapist for:
- Conviction for a felony offense or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
- Usage of drugs or alcohol to an extent that affects the therapist’s professional competency;
- Engaging in sexual contact or intimacies with a current or former client;
- Performance of professional duties in a grossly negligent manner or in a manner that is detrimental to the public health or welfare;
- Obtainment or an attempt to obtain a license through fraud or deception;
- Any other violation of § 502 or a rule promulgated by the Board.
Pursuant to § 502, the LMFT Board may issue any of the following penalties against a license or license holder: an administrative fine, monitoring, public reprimand, license restrictions, probation, suspension, refusal to renew, or even revocation of the therapist’s license. For a more detailed description of the disciplinary process and sanction guidelines, please refer to the disciplinary process of the License Defense section of this site by clicking here.
Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC)
The Texas State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors is charged with regulating the practice of Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC’s) pursuant to Texas Occupations Code § 503 et. al. Under § 503.401 of the Texas Occupations Code and §§ 681.162-681.164 of the Texas Administrative Code, the most common grounds for disciplinary action against a Licensed Professional Counselor or the LPC’s license are:
- Conviction for a felony or certain misdemeanor offenses;
- Drug and alcohol abuse which directly relates to the practice of counseling;
- Sexual Contact with a present or former client;
- Obtainment of a license through fraud or deceit;
- Violation of an ethical rule adopted by the Board.
The Professional Counselors Board may sanction a violation by imposing an administrative fine, issuing a public reprimand, or subjecting a Licensed Professional Counselor’s license to probation, suspension, revocation, or a refusal to renew (Texas Occupations Code § 502 and Texas Administrative Code § 681). For a more detailed description of the disciplinary process and sanction guidelines, please refer to the disciplinary process of the License Defense section of this site by clicking here.
The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE) is responsible for regulating the licensure and practice of social workers in Texas (Texas Occupations Code § 505 et. al.). Consistent with § 505.451 of the Texas Occupations Code and § 701 et. al. of the Texas Administrative Code, the Board may discipline a social worker for:
- Felony conviction or commission of a misdemeanor which would indicate an inability or tendency to be unable to perform as a social worker;
- Consumption of alcohol or drugs in a manner which would adversely affect the licensee’s ability to perform social work or usage of any illegal drugs;
- Provision of false or misleading information while seeking to obtain or renew a license;
- Engaging in unethical conduct or other conduct that discredits or tends to discredit the social worker profession;
- Improperly directly or indirectly revealing or causing to be revealed confidential client information;
- Sexual contact with a current or former client;
- Boundary violations and inappropriate dual relationships with Clients.
In response to such violations, the Board may impose an administrative fine, issue a public reprimand, place the licensee on probation, or suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew the social worker’s license (Texas Occupations Code § 505 and Texas Administrative Code § 701.601 et. seq.).
The disciplinary process begins with a complaint to the Board. Such complaints usually originate from co-workers, current or former clients, or an angry spouse. Following the complaint, the Board will conduct an investigation into the allegations (Texas Administrative Code § 781.603). Criminal charges and convictions can also trigger an investigation. If the Board believes that grounds for disciplinary action are present they may try to resolve the matter through an informal hearing (§ 781.605). The Board will be represented by an attorney at this hearing. If the case is not resolved via the informal hearing, the social worker may demand an administrative hearing before a judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings who will issue a Proposal for Decision (Texas Occupations Code §505.555). The Board will then enter its final order and in so doing does not have to adhere with the Administrative Law Judge’s proposed sanctions.
Throughout this process the therapist can and should seek the aid of a lawyer. These proceedings are highly complex and typically involve complicated issues of fact and administrative law. Because the consequences can be severe, it is best for the licensee to obtain the aid of an attorney to help guide and represent him or her before the Board. We are often our own worst advocate when our reputation and livelihood are on the line. This is particularly true in cases of chemical dependency or criminal conviction(s) as it is precisely the licensee or applicant’s character itself that is in question. In situations such as these, a lawyer is better able to present the licensee’s case before the Board. Regardless of the basis for the Social Worker Board’s investigation, the advice and assistance of an experienced attorney can guide a licensed professional through this stressful and complex process and help fight for a positive outcome.
If you are a mental healthcare professional and you may be in jeopardy of losing your license, the Leichter Law Firm may be able to help. Our dedicated Texas social worker license defense attorneys and Texas counselor license defense attorneys may be able to help you. Please contact us today by calling 512-495-9995 for more information.