STATE OF WISCONSIN
BEFORE THE PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR SECTION
EXAMINING BOARD OF SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THEREPISTS AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS
IN THE MATTER OF THE DISCIPLINARY
PETER J. BOWES, ED.D., C.P.C., FINAL DECISION AND ORDER
The parties to this action for the purposes of § 227.53, Stats., are:
Peter J. Bowes, Ed.D., C.P.C.
1227 N. Cass St. #1
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Professional Counselor Section
Wisconsin Examining Board of Social Workers,
PO Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708-8935
Department of Regulation and Licensing
Division of Enforcement
P.O. Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708-8935
The parties in this matter agree to the terms and conditions of the attached Stipulation as the final decision of this matter, subject to the approval of the Professional Counselor Section the Section has reviewed this Stipulation and considers it acceptable.
Accordingly, the Section in this matter adopts the attached Stipulation and makes the following:
1. Peter J. Bowes, Ed.E., C.P.C., Respondent, date of birth December 23, 1951, is certified by the Professional Counselor Section as a professional counselor in the state of Wisconsin pursuant to certificate number 219, which was first granted July 21, 1993.
2. Respondent's last address reported to the Department of Regulation and Licensing is 1227 N. Cass St. #1, Milwaukee, WI 53202. The most recent address at which Respondent provides professional services is Psychotherapies, Inc., 231 Buffalo St. #201C, Milwaukee, WI 53202.
3. During the events of this matter, Respondent practices as a professional counselor at his private offices located in the Milwaukee, WI 53202.
4. In addition to practicing as a professional counselor, Respondent has had a lifelong interest in religious and spiritual matter, particularly Christian mysticism. In the 1970's, Respondent was a member of the Holy Order of Mans. Late he became ordained as a priest in the Brotherhood of Christ.
5. Beginning in early 199, Respondent and a psychotherapist from Boston presented a series of seminars on Christian meditation and related topics as "The Sophia Gatherings." In April 199, Respondent formed and incorporated the Order of Christ/Sophia, which describes itself as:
"The order of Christ/Sophia is a Christian Order of women and men, called together to further the work of Jesus Christ and Mary upon this earth. We are not a set; we are not a denomination. By "Christian" we mean that which contains the whole, essential Truth of the Christ. The Order of Christ/Sophia is a spiritual school created and sustained by Divine Revelation."
6. Respondent became an ordained priest in the Order of Christ/Sophia and is its spiritual leader. The "Order House" is presently located at 231 E. Buffalo St., Suite 201, Milwaukee, WI 53202, part of the same suite of offices in which Respondent now has his professional practice.
7. Respondent provided psychotherapy and professional services to Ms. A from 1995 through June 25, 1997. Respondent diagnosed Ms. A as having clinical depression.
8. On October 29, 1996, Ms. A and her spouse commenced a divorce action that was completed on December 9, 1997
9. Respondent had contended to the Division of Enforcement (DOE) that after the professional relationship with Ms. A ended on Juine25, 1997, he had no contact with Ms. A until he invited her to, and she attended, one of The Sophia Gatherings in early 1999. Respondent contends that it was only after that time that Ms. A became interested in, and a member of, the Order of Christ/Sophia.
10. However, Ms. A's son has advised DOE that shortly following the termination of the professional relationship, Respondent and Ms. A had continuing personal contacts and that he witnessed:
a. In January 1998, Respondent had contact with Ms. A and advised Ms. A to make certain financial investments. Respondent did not profit from those investments.
b. In early 1998, Respondent began providing Ms. A with religious books and paraphernalia regarding the religious beliefs held by Respondent.
c. Respondent convinced Ms. A to have a Christmas mass in her home in December 1998.
11. Ms. A sold her home, which had been awarded to her in the divorce action. In the fall of 1999, she used a portion of the money from the sale to purchase a one third interest in a house located at 2716 E. Belleview Pl., Milwaukee, WI, as tenants in common with Respondent and another member of the Order of Christ/Sophia.
12. The three individuals who purchased the house then resided in that house. The house was also the Christ/Sophia Center of Milwaukee and served as the "Order House," until the Order was found to be in violation of zoning ordinances in mid-2000. At that time, the house was sold.
13. Ms. A has continued to be a member of the Order of Christ/Sophia and on January 12, 2001, Ms. A was ordained as a priest in the Order of Christ/Sophia. Ms. A has told DOE that she does not believe that she was harmed by her relationships with Respondent.
14. Respondent began providing professional services to Ms. B in late 1994 or early 1995 and provided Ms. B with psychotherapy at various times until October 1999. Early in the professional relationship, Ms. B related having been sexually abused as a child and Respondent diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder.
15. While in therapy with Respondent, Ms. B and Respondent discussed spiritual issues in the context of her past abuse.
16. In mid-1998, while Ms. B was still in therapy with Respondent, he invited Ms. B to attend meditation classes he was beginning to teach. Ms. B and her spouse began attending. The classes consisted of "hands on blessings" and Respondent reading teachings about Christian mysticism to the group. After a few months, the meetings included communion services, hymns and sermons by Respondent. The group attending the meetings became the Order of Christ/Sophia in April 1999.
17. Ms. B and her spouse ceased contact with the Order during 1999, when it began seeking financial commitments from its members so that it could purchase a building as its "Order House."
18. By letter dated December 22, 2000, Ms. B told DOE of the impact on her of Respondent's dual-relationships:
"I found [Respondent] capable of being a good therapist, earning the authority I invested in him to help heal from childhood traumas. He did this by offering the empathy, support and professional insight necessary to earn a client's trust.
However, by asking me to expand my trust in his authority to include the role of spiritual director and intermediary, he abused his role as therapist. He claimed the authority to speak for God in my life, demanded obedience to his direction, and became angry and verbally abusive (he called it being 'intense' and ' chastising') when I asked questions he didn't like, or dared to testify to spiritual experiences that differed from those he prescribed for me. This abuse took place in front of others on at least one occasion, and many other times in private.
It's for this very reason that the state prohibits therapists from having dual relationships with clients: Trust in the judgement and authority of the therapist is necessary to the therapeutic process, yet that trust also leaves clients vulnerable to abuse. I am joining the complaint against [Respondent] because I experienced a pattern of emotional and spiritual abuse, and witnessed the same pattern in his relationships with other current and former clients. I have no reason to believe that this pattern has ended, or will as long as he practices psychotherapy."
19. Ms. C, who was a pastor in a Protestant denomination, first met with Respondent on June 13, 1998. She went to him for spiritual direction after having read his book about mystical Christianity, The Word Within. During that session, Ms. C related having been sexually abused as a child. Respondent diagnosed depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Respondent and Ms. C agreed that Respondent would provide her with psychotherapy to resolve those issues before addressing spiritual matters.
20. Respondent began providing professional services to Ms. C on June 13, 1998, the date they first met, and continued to provide psychotherapy to Ms. C until June 1999.
21. Beginning in July 1998, at Respondent's invitation, Ms. C attended classes Respondent taught on healing and Christian mysticism. On July 19, 1998, Ms. C attended a communion service performed by Respondent in another office in the building were Respondent's professional office was located at that time.
22. Through the course of treatment, Ms. C decided to leave her parish. In approximately September of 1998, Ms. C submitted her resignation to the parish. Ms. C was baptized by Respondent, at about that same time.
23. Ms. C joined the Order of Christ/Sophia and during 1999, contributed $1,800 to the Order, which money was used primarily for improvements to the Order House" referred to in finding of fact 12, above. Ms. C left the Order of Christ/Sophia on April 5, 2000.
24. Ms. C has told DOE that she believes that she was harmed by her relationships with Respondent.
25. On July 31, 2000, DOE sent Respondent a consent for release of information form signed by Ms. C and requested Respondent's records of Ms. C's treatment.
26. Respondent responded to Doe's request for Ms. C's records with a letter dated September 3, 2000, and enclosed what he purported to be his contemporaneous case notes regarding Ms. C's treatment.
27. Ms. C told DOE that Respondent had not kept records of the treatment sessions. DOE sent MS. C the purported records that Respondent had provided. Ms. C reviewed the purported treatment records and told Doe that the records must have been created in response to a records request. As an example, Ms. C cited an event, which had not yet occurred on the date Respondent made reference to the event in the records.
28. In a subsequent letter, DOE asked Respondent to respond to the contention that the records were recreated. Respondent told DOE: "I sometimes waited a few days at times to write the progress notes due to being quite busy, but I did not recreate them."
29. On January 10, 2001, the Division of Enforcement (DOE) sent Respondent a consent for release of information form signed by MS. B and requested Respondent's records of Ms. B's treatment.
30. Respondent responded to Doe's request for Ms. B's records with a letter dated January 20, 2001, in which he wrote: "I failed to keep adequate records on [Ms. B] and do not have any case notes for her. I know that this is very poor record keeping, so all I have is a summary to the best of my recollection of what the psychotherapy consisted.."
31. In January 2000, DOE originally contacted Respondent about the allegations of an inappropriate dual relationship with Ms. A. Subsequent to that contact, Respondent has voluntarily attended three workshops on professional ethics in which the nature of dual relationships was discussed.
32. Respondent agrees that, prior to attending the ethics workshops, he had entered into inappropriate dual relationships with 13 current or former professional clients by including them in some aspect of his religious order.
33.Respondent has told DOE that he now understands the nature of dual relationships.
34. Respondent has also advised DOE that Respondent's work as a priest requires him to minister to the Order and that he is increasingly serving in that capacity. For that reason, Respondent has agreed to surrender his certificate to practice as a professional counselor in the state of Wisconsin.
1. The Professional Counselor Section of the Wisconsin Examining Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to § 457.26(2), Stats.
2. The Professional Counselor Section of the Wisconsin Examining Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors has authority to enter into this stipulated resolution of this matter pursuant to §227.44(5), Stats.
3. Respondent's conduct, as set out above, constituted a failure to avoid dual relationships or relationships that may impair a professional counselor's objectivity or create a conflict of interest, which was in violation of Wis. Adm. Code § SFC 20.02(13) and subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to §457.26(2)(h), Stats.
4. Respondent's failure to maintain adequate records relating to services provided to some of his clients in the course of the professional relationship was a violation of Wis. Adm. Code § SFC 20.02(18) and subjects Respondent to discipline pursuant to § 457.26(2)(h), Stats.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. The surrender by Peter J. Bowes, Ed.D., C.P.C., Respondent, of his certificate to practice as a professional counselor in the state of Wisconsin is hereby accepted, effective March 1, 2001.
2. If Respondent ever petitions the Section for certification as a professional counselor:
a. Respondent shall notify the Division of Enforcement (Division) of the request and the Division shall have the opportunity to apprise the Section of all allegations contained in these investigations pending at the time the attached stipulation was executed.
b. Following the presentation of information by the Division, the Section may in its sole discretion elect to certify Respondent, with or without limitations, or to deny Respondent's petition.
c. If Respondent believes that the Section's denial of certification is inappropriate or that any limitation imposed by the Section is inappropriate, Respondent may seek a class I hearing pursuant to § 227.01(3)(a), Stats., in which the burden shall be on Respondent to show that the Section's decision is arbitrary or capricious. The denial of certification or limitations on Respondent's certification shall remain in effect until there is a final decision in Respondent's favor on the issue.
The rights of a party aggrieved by this Decision to petition the Section for rehearing and to petition for judicial review are set forth on the attached "Notice of Appeal Information".
Dated at Madison, Wisconsin this 29th day of March, 2001.
Professional Counselor Section