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I was not sure where to post this , but hopefully you can all provide some advice on what to do in this situation.

1- About 2 months ago the ex contacted me and said she need to talk about ourchild urgently . I agreed and made the 2 hour trip to meet with her.

2 We met and she told me that she had taken our child to see a child psychologist - referred by a doctor as he was experiencing "Anxiety " he is 3 1/2.
She said that the Psychologist would like to meet with me being the father . I took the details and contacted the psychologist and made an appointment. The only time I have seen my child anxious is when I have to do the drop off to the child's mother.Whenthe childsays I don't want to see mummy . I have been putting some strategies in place to work through this . Its funny but I have less resistance to droppingthe childat daycare than when he has been away from his mum for over 3 days !

3 - So off to the psychologist I go . We meet and makes it clear that she is not on my side , not on his mums side She says she is the Child's side.
To which I say that's great , and exactly where I want you to be.
She explains that she has met mychild who is happy , confident and healthy .At the first meeting she couldn't see any Anxiety issues . She asks me what i think ? and I explainthe above - only time child is anxious is when its time to go back to mums .

4 -psychologist suggests that the parents and her meet to discuss how we can work though this . I agree.

5 - 2 weeks later the 3 off us meet. ( the ex had contacted me during the week saying that our child is cured and we don't need to go ! I explain to the EX its not that simple , since he has been referred by a doctor the psychologist wont discharge the child and report back to the doctor until she is satisfied etc..) the session was supposed to be for an hour , we sit down and the psychologist asks who would like to speak first ? I say the EX can and I sit there and listen to what she says , and wait until she finishes. Then I ask if its my turn to talk.
I my first line went something like …. " we agreed on consent orders about 10 months ago and ….. Before I finished my opening my EX was on her feet throwing a tirade of abusive swearwords and out downs at me . The Psychologist had to stand up and restrain her and take her out of the room. The psychologist comes back in and apologies and says my ex is unwell and needs help !!!
I agree and ask if we will be continuing the session as I have driven for 2 hours and thought this was about our child not us ?

6 - later that night the Psychologist calls me and apologises again. I ask her for the report that she will be making up for the doctor which she agrees.I also advised her that I was quite upset by what occurred today as I felt abused and threatened and am yet to decide if I will take it further and obviously she is a witness to the attack.

7- for the past 4 weeksI have followed up weekly asking for :

The report and name of the referring doctor and has she seen my child again ?

Last night she says she would like to meet with me again in person . I agree and called her today to arrange a time.

When speaking to her she said she is not going to provide me with any formation about my child unless the EX agrees as she was the parent who took him to the doctor and it would be a conflict of interest ????

This confuses me - I am invited to participate for the benefit of my child but as soon as I want information I get closed down .

So the advice I need is how do I get this information - is there a board that you can report a psychologist to ?

Does the psychologist have an ethical obligation to report the abuse and violence she witnessed between me and my EX.

I also get the feeling that the EX is also getting counselling for the psychologist - wouldn't this be the true conflict of interest as well as bad ethics ?

Any advice would be most appreciated .


Last edit: by Secretary SPCA

Hate to be the bearer of bad news phoenix, but as far as I'm aware, the psychologist is absolutely correct. Yes, you were invited to participate in a session with the ex, but the bottom line is, the psych would have had to discuss this with the ex and gain her consent for this to happen. She doesn't need to be seeing the same psych for there to be a conflict of interest, this situation is one in itself. We've encountered this same issue with doctors before - my step daughter spends equal time with both parents, but if her mother takes her to a GP, my partner is not privvy to any information, and is advised the only option is to seek the info from the ex. Conversely, we had the child visit a counsellor, and when mum found out she hit the roof and went on a rampage at counsellor and several receptionists, demanding case notes. She was denied for the same reasons.

No, I don't believe the psychologist is obligated to call and report the abuse between you and the ex. Had the abuse taken place with the child present, yes -  this would be reportable. Had the abuse been between child and parent (or against a dependant eldery or disabled adult) she would most certainly be obligated as a mandatory reporter to contact police or child protection services. Independant adults can take the necessary steps to report abuse for themselves, therefore the responsibility is essentially yours. Any intervention on her part would be purely voluntary.

The only way you will get any further info from the psychologist is if your ex gives it to you, or if you subpoena it. If for example, you decide to apply for an AVO, you could have your legal rep subpoena the psych as a witness. If you make a case to pursue alternative care arrangements for your son on the basis of his mother's mental health (this may not be a bad idea), you can subpoena the psych's records.

Also, there is no "bad ethics" in the same psychologist seeing more than one member of a family individually. It would be a conflict of interest if she was seeing two parties on opposing sides of a legal battle, or seeing both halves of a separated couple (where the issues of contention are related to the relationship or other party). If she is ever called upon to give evidence in court, she is required to refer only to what she has seen and dealt with directly. For example, she can't give evidence that the child has anxiety simply because the mother claims it to be true. She may only give an opinion on the anxiety if she has witnessed it first hand or the child has made disclosures about it. So treating both mother and son shouldn't present a problem.

Obviously there is no basis on which to make a complaint, as the psychologist is well within her rights and responsibilities.
Just a to add a quick note phoenix, the consent orders that state you and the ex are to provide each other with copies of medical documents etc, mean just that - YOU and HER. The psychologist is under no obligation to make good on these consent orders, and in fact, to do so without the mother's express permission would be a breach of privacy because the mother was the parent who brought your son in. If the consent orders are not followed, this has to be taken up with the ex, not the psychologist.

Yes, psychologists do operate under a code of ethics, and of course there are avenues by which to make complaints. My point is that in your case, there is no action which warrants a complaint as the psychologist is following the rules. She has been fairly forthcoming with you in the fact that she has given her opinion that it is the mother who needs treating, not the child. I don't think you can expect mush more than that, as anything further would put her career on the line if the mother should pursue complaints against her on privacy breaches.

You can request that she not treat the mother and son, but ultimately I don't think it matters what you think of it, so long as she is not breaking any rules. And as mentioned, I don't believe there is any legal issue with seeing members of the same family. Besides - didn't she tell you the child is fine? If that's the case, continuing counselling with him shouldn't be necessary. It sounds like his "anxiety" may have more to do with mum's actions resulting from her fragile mental state. He's probably just nervous to go back to her because she is quite possibly erratic and unpredictable lately.
Thanks Rabbit for your thoughts.

The reason for giving the consent orders to the Physcologist is not to try and put her under any kind of obligation .It is about her having an understanding of the agreement so the strategies she provides if necessary and she understands the obligations that me and the ex are under.

So that when I ask her for Express permission from the EX , she knows that the ex has an obligation to provide me with the reports under the consent orders , she isnt under any obligation to reinforce this to the EX, that is my job. The Physcologist does need to be aware though .I actually thought that I had express permission from our first meeting when she outlined the process when she explained that my EX wanted me to be part of this process and invited me along.

really at the end of the day the ex wanted to try and make changes to the consent orders without going to court to suit herself and she has tryed to manufacture the childs Anxiety issues .

Hopefully my child will be discharged .

The assault on me is another matter altogether and I will just report this and name the Physcologist as a witness and I will let the authorities investigate this.

So. Your child is ok….? :)

What's the rest of this nonsense about?

Phoenix replied publicly to a whisper. That post has been deleted due to the identifying information in it.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
rabbit said
Just a to add a quick note phoenix, the consent orders that state you and the ex are to provide each other with copies of medical documents etc, mean just that - YOU and HER. The psychologist is under no obligation to make good on these consent orders, and in fact, to do so without the mother's express permission would be a breach of privacy because the mother was the parent who brought your son in. If the consent orders are not followed, this has to be taken up with the ex, not the psychologist.
Here is a good example of the importance of creating properly worded orders.

Notify the other party of the name, address and telephone number of the children's treating doctor and/or specialist doctor as soon as possible, in any event within 12 hours; and authorise such doctor, in writing (if applicable), to release to the other party particulars of the children's health or treatment at any time requested by the other party.


That during any period referred to in these orders, in the event of the children being hospitalised or receiving medical attention, each party shall notify the other parent as soon as practicable after the first contact with either the medical practitioner, medical centre or hospital and authorise the treating physician(s) to release copies of all information and records.

There are permutations on these as well.

The SRL-Resource group are a good place to go for properly worded orders.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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