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Auckland psychologist deregistered - Psychologists

Auckland psychologist deregistered - Psychologists Board

The Psychologists Board has struck off an Auckland psychologist after finding the man guilty of having a sexual relationship with a client and related professional breaches.

The Board conducted a hearing following the Director of Proceedings from the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner having charged Richard Aukett with professional misconduct and/or conduct unbecoming a registered psychologist.

In addition to being struck off as a registered psychologist, he has been ordered to pay 40 percent ($13,683) of the hearing costs. Mr Aukett has also been instructed to write a letter to his clients outlining the board's decision and informing them of the steps they can take to locate an alternative registered psychologist.

Board chair Steve Osborne says the board takes complaints of this nature extremely seriously.

"The Board recognises its decision may heavily impact on Mr Aukett's livelihood, but the severity of the penalty reflects the seriousness of his behaviour.

"Psychologists must maintain high ethical and professional standards and if there are ever breaches of these standards the Board will hold the psychologist accountable, which is what has happened in this case.

"New Zealanders have the right to expect the highest possible level of professionalism and care from registered psychologists. The Board's role is to ensure this standard is upheld and that the public is protected."

Mr Osborne says the vast majority of registered psychologists do practice to these high standards and it is disappointing when a member of the profession breaches their Code of Ethics.

"The Board cannot stress strongly enough the inappropriateness of Mr Aukett's behaviour. Having a sexual relationship with a client is never justifiable and will not be tolerated."

To help inform and guide members of the profession, the Board will publish Mr Aukett's name, and will detail the charge, decisions, penalty, and reasons in newsletters of the psychology professional associations, on the Board's website (www.psychologistsboard.org.nz http://www.psychologistsboard.org.nz/, and in their Annual Report to the Minister of Health.

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