Psychologist Peter Lawrence Gill, who heads the Cambridge Psychotherapy Institute (CPI) in Newton, has been expelled from the American Psychological Association. Gill's lawyer, Paul Gitlin, played down the expulsion Friday, noting that Gill had tried to resign from the voluntary organization by letter a year ago. His resignation was not accepted because the association's policy is to refuse the resignation of "anybody under the scrutiny of the ethics committee so we can maintain jurisdiction." according to the ethics officer, David Mills.
According to a letter dated December 10, 1984, Gill was expelled "for a violation of the preamble to the Ethical Principles, the section relating to a lack of cooperation with the committee." The action stems from a complaint filed 18 months ago against Gill by a former patient, Wallace Ralston of Newton. Ralston charged, among other things, that Gill maintains a "dual relationship" with individuals who are both his patients and practicing therapist-members of the Cambridge Psychotherapy Institute, a practice considered unethical by the association.
Gill has freely acknowledged that some who practice psychotherapy in his institute are not licensed as physicians, psychologists or social workers. He has insisted that academic degrees and licenses are not essential to the practice of excellent psychotherapy. Later this month, the Mass Board of Registration of Psychologists, which began an investigation of Gill last summer, is expected to issue an amended order asking Gill to "show cause" why his state license to practice psychology should not be revoked. The charges against Gill before the board were also brought by Ralston.
Hearing Officer Herbert Hoffman a psychologist, said he heard legal motions in November at which he allowed Gill's request to have the charges against him made more specific. The new show-cause order, said Hoffman, "is overdue, but I anticipate it will be issued in the next two weeks."
Gitlin, Gill's lawyer, said the purpose of the new letter is "to give Dr. Gill the ability to understand what he was being charged with." He added that the state investigator in the Gill matter has already missed one deadline for issuing the letter. "at some point," Gitlin said, "the commonwealth has to make its case or forget its case. Dr. Hoffman is allowing this to continue unnecessarily."