Consensual disposal agreement between Grant Lake (reference no. 98199) and BACP
A complaint of professional misconduct was brought against Mr Lake. Following the outcome of the investigation the complaint was dealt with by means of Consensual Disposal.
This outcome was reached by agreement.
Mr Grant Lake, a BACP individual member agrees to the following outcome of the investigation into a complaint of professional misconduct [ . . . ].
[ . . . ].
The Complainant attended his first counselling session with the member on 12 February Year 1 having been referred to him [ . . .].
The Complainant contacted the Member ahead of the session to provide some information ahead of time. At the session the Complainant reported that the Member stated in an aggressive voice that he was aware of the issues having spent several hours reviewing the document the Complainant sent to him and further stated that the complainant was ‘a bully’ for sending those communications on a weekend.
The Complainant stated that not only was the Member’s language concerning but that he used a strong and forceful tone and body language at times pointing his finger at him. The Complaint stated that as the session continued the tone of voice the Member used was sarcastic and belittling leaving the Complainant feeling worse than when they started.
When discussing the [ . . . ] the Complainant complained the Member told him to ‘simply stop doing it’ with no further information of value.
The Complainant stated that when discussing his work life, the Member told him he was a ‘self-sabotager’ and a ‘door mat’ and made other comments the Complainant felt were belittling and disrespectful.
After confirming the next appointment by text message, the Complainant stated the Member contacted him to say that he had chosen not to proceed with the Complainant. The Complainant stated he respected the Member’s decision but would have preferred this dialogue to take place face to face.
Allegations and Admissions
Mr Lake makes the following admissions which the BACP accepts:
1. In contravention of paragraphs 21 of the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions (2018) Mr Lake demonstrated unprofessional behaviour, thereby failing to respect his client’s privacy and dignity in that;
a) Mr Lake was confrontational with the Complainant during the session;
b) Mr Lake disrespected and belittled the Complainant during the session;
c) Mr Lake made negative comments about the Complainant during the session;
2. In contravention of paragraph 91 (d) of the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions (2018), Mr Lake failed to keep a healthy balance between his work and other aspects of his life as demonstrated by his response in session to the email the Complainant sent to him prior to the session.
3. In contravention of paragraph 52 (a), (b) & (c) of the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions (2018) Mr Lake, having ended the therapy without explanation, failed to take immediate action to limit or prevent any harm; failed to repair as far as possible any harm caused; and failed to offer an apology at that time.
Mr Lake puts forward the following in mitigation, which has been taken into account
by the IAC in deciding the appropriate outcome:
• Mr Lake has shown remorse and insight into his actions and made apology.
• Mr Lake has shown evidence of reviewing his practice, changing supervisor and reducing his workload
• Mr Lake shared with the IAC details of personal difficulties which impacted upon him at the time of the complaint and which he has since addressed.
The issues identified and admitted by Mr Lake amounted to breaches of the Ethical Framework in particular his failure to respect his client’s privacy and dignity; to keep a healthy balance between his work and other aspects of his life; to take immediate action to limit or prevent any harm; to repair as far as possible any harm caused; and to offer an apology at the time.
One of the aims of the Professional Conduct Procedure is to protect members of the public. The IAC, in considering what sanction may be appropriate in the circumstances of this case has taken into account the interests of public protection.
1. In relation to the above finding the IAC considers it appropriate that in not less than six weeks and no more than three months of the consensual disposal agreement being signed by Mr Lake and the Association , Mr Lake is required to produce and provide a comprehensive report detailing his reflections and learning addressing the areas of respect for clients, self-care and accountability and candour. The report should address his learning in relation to the following:
a. his reflection on the changes he has made in relation to supervision and how he has embedded them into practice;
b. his understanding of how to put better boundaries between his work and professional life and how he manages and maintains those boundaries;
c. a demonstration of his insight into his actions and a description of what he would do differently were he facing similar circumstances to those that gave rise to the complaint.
2. The report should also evidence that Mr Lake discussed these issues in supervision, and he should obtain his supervisor’s signature confirming that the issues have been discussed, and that it is a true record of the discussion.
3. The IAC would have also required Mr Lake to write a letter of apology, however the IAC noted Mr Lake had already done so and that this would be sent to the Complainant as part of the procedure.
4. Mr Lake agrees that the Agreement will be published in accordance with the Publication Policy.
5. The Agreement will be disclosed to the Complainant.
6. Mr Lake agrees that he will not act in any way inconsistent with this agreement, for example by denying the admissions made.
7. If Mr Lake acts in a way which is inconsistent with this Agreement, this will be considered by a sanction panel and may result in his membership being terminated. Such a decision will be published.