Counsellor and psychotherapist Brian Hickman has been temporarily banned from advertising, offering or providing any general health services while the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC) conducts an investigation.
Mr Hickman, who is based in Wodonga, is also temporarily banned from providing any professional supervision to other health service providers, and from operating any business that provides general health services.
Commissioner Karen Cusack said that while Mr Hickman was suspended by AHPRA 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.
“Any counsellor or psychotherapist practising in Victoria must adhere to the code of conduct and provide services in a safe and ethical manner” she said.
“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.”
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 number one 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.”