Split court upholds sanctions against counselor

0

PORTLAND (AP) – A divided state supreme court ruled Wednesday that licensed professional counselors are barred by law from diagnosing and treating mental health disorders.

The 4-2 decision upheld a ruling by the Board of Counseling Professional Licensure to discipline A. Michelle Cobb.

The case arose when the parents of two children Cobb was counseling filed a complaint with the board, which charged her with operating beyond the scope of her license. The panel censured Cobb, imposed a $500 fine and ordered her to receive 30 hours of supervision.

The court said that while the law gives three of the four categories of licensed counselors the authority to diagnose and treat mental health disorders, such clinical status does not extend to licensed professional counselors.

The dissenting justices said that because the statute was vague and did not explicitly prohibit Cobb from diagnosing and treating, her due process rights were violated when she was penalized for practicing beyond the scope of her license.

Cobb, who previously worked in Gray, could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. Her appeal was filed in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Advertisement