For Immediate Release - May 19, 2004

Psychologist Agrees to 6-month Stayed Suspension and 18-month Probation

John S. O'Brien, of Brockton, has entered into a consent agreement with the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychology, submitting to a 6-month stayed suspension followed by an 18-month probation of his license to practice psychology, effective April 14.

O'Brien violated Board regulations by engaging in conduct that was professionally inappropriate while employed at Brockton Hospital as a psychologist. The consent agreement indicates that O'Brien made numerous sexually suggestive and inappropriate comments to a female patient in the course of her therapy and discussed the treatment of other patients with her.

During the 6-month stayed suspension period O'Brien is required to seek a diagnostic evaluation of his ability to practice in a safe and competent manner and must undergo weekly psychotherapy and supervision by a licensed psychologist approved by the Board. If the Board finds that he has failed to comply with the terms of the Consent Agreement during the period of Stayed Suspension, the Stay will be lifted and his license shall be immediately suspended. During the 18-month probation period, the same conditions of weekly psychotherapy and supervision will apply.

Consumers are encouraged to exercise their rights and continually visit the Division's Web site at www.mass.gov/reg and select the "check a license" option to determine whether a professional is licensed and in good standing before doing business with him/her.

The Division of Professional Licensure is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The Division of Professional Licensure is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the licensure process for 43 trades and professions regulated by 29 boards of registration, the continual updating of licenses for approximately 330,000 licensees, and the maintenance of the multiple databases related to licensing, enforcement, and revenue collection. In fiscal year 2003, the Division of Professional Licensure imposed record levels of professional discipline including 949 disciplinary actions and over $27,000 in fines and over $50,000 in refunds for consumers