The state Board of Registration of Psychologists will begin proceedings to revoke the license of psychologist Peter Lawrence Gill, who heads the Cambridge Psychotherapy Institute in Newton, according to sources familiar with the decision.
Although the decision has not been announced publicly, the sources said the board has decided to issue a written "order to show cause why your license should not be suspended or revoked.
The board acted after considering a pending complaint that Gill uses patients as therapists, an unethical "dual relationship," according to the American Psychological Association; makes a practice of committing people to lifetime therapy; engages in "balance billing," the practice of asking patients to pay the portion of his fee not covered by insurance; and is not always "on site" to supervise assistant therapists.
A little over a week ago, the board held an informal conference on the case, which Gill declined to attend on the grounds he had not been informed of specific complaints against him. At that meeting the board considered complaints against Gill by a former patient, Wallace Ralston.
Asked about the allegations cited by the board, Gill said late Friday: "The first sounds pejorative, and if it is, it's point-blank false." The second allegation, he said, "is ridiculous because I can't commit anybody to anything." The balance billing charge "is false," he added, and, "I don't have any assistant therapists. I do not hire anybody."
He went on: "I try to help people who operate independently and who ask me to help them be responsible therapists. There is no payroll (at CPI. The members of CPI get paid by their patients. Yes, members are also required to be patients, as at the Boston Psychoanalytic (Society and Institute. It's part of first-class training."
"It's high time they (the board tried to specify to us what it is they think is worth responding to in the mess of allegations that Wally (Ralston has made," he added.
There were several other developments last week as several state agencies considered how to address growing concerns that the entire field of psychotherapy is inadequately regulated.
Although there is state regulation and licensing of practitioners in four disciplines that practice psychotherapy - psychology, nursing, medicine or social work - there is no system of licensing for others who call themselves psychotherapists but do not belong to those professions.