PSI Psychologist Online Register

Making a complaint about a PSI member

PSI takes very seriously any complaints about the professional conduct of its members and has procedures for investigating complaints. The procedures are designed to be fair to both the person making the complaint and the psychologist(s) against whom the complaint is made (PSI cannot investigate complaints about psychologists who are not members).

PSI’s Board of Professional Conduct is responsible for investigating these complaints. Some members of the Board are psychologists and others are non-psychologists.

Making a complaint about a psychologist

1. Contact the office at the Society

The office will send you a Formal Complaint Form and a copy of the procedures for investigating complaints (i.e. paragraph 36 of the Articles of Association). The rules for good practice (i.e. Code of Professional Ethics), which psychologists must follow, will also be sent to you as it may help you.

2. Fill in the Formal Complaint Form

You must complete and sign the Formal Complaint Form (Form D2). PSI only investigates complaints that are made in writing and signed. You are asked to give the name of the psychologist(s) you wish to complain about and a short description of your complaint. You are asked, if you can, to say which rules from the Code of Ethics you think the psychologist(s) has (have) broken.

3. Send the forms to the Chairperson of the Board of Professional Conduct c/o PSI office

How the investigation works

1. The Chairperson appoints two members of the Board of Professional Conduct investigate your complaint.

Both you and the psychologist(s) will receive a letter with the names of the two members (called the Investigatory Pair). The psychologist will also receive a copy of your complaint.

2. The Investigatory Pair will contact both you and the psychologist.

This contact may be in writing or by phone or both and the aim is to gather additional information that may help clarify the nature of the complaint. These members will then identify what part(s) of the Code of Professional Ethics that are relevant to the complaint.

3. The Investigatory Pair will write to both you and the psychologist describing the part(s) of the Code of Professional Ethics they have identified as relevant.

You will be invited to submit any other information you think is relevant and the psychologist(s) will asked to give a written response to the complaint under the parts of the Code.

4. Based on all of the information they gather the Investigatory Pair will form an opinion as to whether there is a case to answer or not.

This opinion will be reported to the Board of Professional Conduct. It is important to know that the Board meets every month between September and June but that this process can take a lot of time.

5. Based on the report of the Investigatory Pair the Board will decide on the next steps.

It there is a case to answer the Board will decide what possible solutions are appropriate or if the complaint should be considered at a formal Panel Hearing.

How a Formal Panel Hearing works

The Board of Professional Conduct takes responsibility for the Formal Panel Hearing. The panel is made up of members of the Board. The chair of the panel is always a non-psychologist.

1. After the hearing, the Panel decides whether the complaint is justified.

If the psychologist(s) is found guilty of professional misconduct the panel can recommend to PSI that the psychologist, for example:

  • be reprimanded,
  • be required to take advice on future conduct,
  • be suspended or expelled from PSI’s Register of Psychologists.
  • be suspended or expelled from PSI membership,

2. If a psychologist is found guilty

of serious professional misconduct the decision of the Board of Professional Conduct is published in the Irish Psychologist, the newsletter of PSI.

PSI may also, if appropriate, inform bodies such as Health Boards in order to protect the public interest.

3. If the Panel finds that the complaint was not justified the psychologist is exonerated.

4. Both you and the psychologist(s) will be informed of the decision of the Panel and the reasons for the decision.

Other Points

1. Further information about Panel Hearings is contained in a separate leaflet.

2. The rules that govern the investigation and sanctions are contained in PSI’s Articles of Association.

The procedures used to investigate a complaint will always be those contained in the most recent edition of the Articles, regardless of the date of the events that give rise to the complaint. Normally, the current rules of good practice (Code of Professional Ethics) will also be used.

3. Consent and confidentiality.

In order to be fair to all parties, complaints are accepted for investigation on the basis that the person who submits the complaint will give consent to the use of any relevant information, including confidential information that may arise during the investigation of the complaint.

PSI makes every effort to ensure that, for its part, as few people as possible know about the subject of the complaint or the identity of those involved. The information is only given to the Chair of the Board of Professional Conduct, the two members of the Board who make the initial investigation and the members of the Panel. They will treat the information received with the utmost confidentiality.

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What is The Psychological Society of Ireland?
PSI is the learned and professional body for the profession in Ireland, with the primary object of advancing psychology as a pure and applied science in Ireland and elsewhere. The Society has grown significantly since its inception and now has over 2000 members.

PSI is a hub for members who work in a diverse range of employment settings and specialisations. As well as receiving regular updates of PSI developments, publications, seminars, workshops etc., members can join any of PSI numerous divisions and special interest groups (membership based on qualification) to foster further interest in different areas of psychology.