Information was disclosed to BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.
The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Ms Mooney was as follows:
It was alleged that Ms Mooney engaged in a sexual relationship with X, a former client, which was detrimental to him. Allegedly Ms Mooney provided X with her personal contact number and shortly after her sessions with X ended, she made contact with him to see how he was doing. Ms Mooney then entered into text and email communication with X which culminated in her inviting him to her house, where she allegedly engaged in sexual activity. In addition, once the therapy sessions had concluded Ms Mooney allegedly provided X with a card and a gift.
When X1, the organisation for whom Ms Mooney worked, became aware of the allegations against her, she was interviewed and admitted that she had engaged in a sexual relationship with X and there was an attraction between her and X from the beginning. During the interview Ms Mooney also stated that she did not discuss her relationship with X, in supervision. As a result of her admission, her contract was terminated.
The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Mooney's continuing membership of this Association and it raised concerns about the following in particular:
- Ms Mooney allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with a former client.
- Ms Mooney failed to inform BACP of the termination of her contract
- Ms Mooney's alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.
- Ms Mooney's alleged behaviour was incongruent with that which is expected of a member of BACP.
- By virtue of her actions, Ms Mooney's fitness to practise was allegedly impaired.
- The information further suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
The member was invited to send in a written response, and made a response.
The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association. Ms Mooney's membership would be withdrawn subject to appeal. Ms Mooney had 28 days from the date of notification of this report to make an appeal. In the absence of an appeal, notification was to be given to Ms Mooney by the Chair of the Association with regard to the withdrawal of membership.
The reasons for the Panel's decision are as follows:
The Panel noted that X1 had investigated the matter and found that Ms Mooney did engage in a sexual relationship with client X and as a result of this, terminated her contract. Further, the Panel noted that Ms Mooney herself accepted that she had engaged in a sexual relationship with client X and accepted responsibility for her behaviour.
The Panel agreed that Ms Mooney's action's demonstrated a serious breach of the Ethical Framework, and in particular paragraph 17 which makes it clear that sexual relations with clients are prohibited. The Panel also agreed that Ms Mooney's actions had the potential to bring the reputation of BACP into disrepute, if the public were accurately informed of all of the circumstances of this case.
In the circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to warrant implementing Article 12.6.
Ms Mooney did not appeal the decision and her membership was withdrawn.
Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.