Filing an Ethics Complaint
Filing a Complaint With the APA Ethics Office
APA has made changes to its adjudication program to better serve individuals who believe they have been harmed by a psychologist. We are shifting our focus from accepting complaints against members regardless of whether there are other avenues to obtain possible resolution. We will now focus on providing information on those other potential avenues for resolution. Those avenues have a greater ability to take a desired action against an unethical psychologist. Starting immediately, complaints will be accepted against APA member psychologists only if there is no alternative forum to hear the complaint.
Why is this the new focus? As a membership organization, APA cannot revoke a psychologist's license or restrict a psychologist from practicing. We cannot obtain a monetary award for you or require that a psychologist do something you request. As with most membership-based organizations, the most serious action that APA can take is expelling the member from the association with notifications. We also do not have powers of investigation that governmental bodies and others possess. In most situations, there is a licensing board or other body that can review your complaint in greater depth and provide you greater relief for unethical behavior.
If you have a complaint against a psychologist, you can contact your local, state, provincial or territorial psychology licensing board to determine if the psychologist is licensed and obtain information on filing a complaint with that licensing board. These state regulatory agencies control the ability of a psychologist to practice and are separate entities from APA. A complete list can be found at The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. There also may be other avenues for you to consider even if the psychologist is not licensed.
In the coming weeks, we will provide more information regarding our new process. In the interim, please feel free to contact us to ask any questions or receive additional assistance in identifying an alternative forum better suited to hear your complaint.