A SELF-PROCLAIMED life coach, therapist and counsellor based on the Central Coast, Patrick McNally, has been permanently banned from treating people with mental health issues.
The Health Care Complaints Commission, which has imposed the ban, said he posed a risk to the health and safety of the public, failing to provide services in a "safe and ethical manner".
McNally has appeared on television and written several self-help books marketing himself as dealing with issues including anxiety, phobias and addiction.
The commission began investigating him after receiving a complaint from a former client who was suicidal when they went to see him in January 2016, and suffering anxiety stemming from previous sexual abuse.
They allege he tore up their mental health care plan and told them all they had was a chemical imbalance in their head, and not to take the antidepressants they'd been prescribed.
His treatment included 'spinning' which involved rubbing a client's throat, chest or stomach as if 'washing away the trauma' the complainant told the commission at a hearing in July.
The complainant said McNally knew they were suicidal, but that he could fix it by altering the chemical imbalance in their brain, but did not provide any strategies for how to manage their anxiety, or conduct any assessment of their mental health.
In response, McNally denied the claims but confirmed that 'spinning' was a technique he used often and that it involved rubbing someone.
"You start under the chin, move down the neck using a very light touch, and say "Release and let it go. It's okay to let it go. It's safe to let it go. Release and let it go," he said in his submission.
He admitted he did not have an undergraduate degree, and had no answers as to why he used the post nominals PhD despite knowing he only did a three month online course from an unaccredited university.
He said he had used it since he got it and had 'never caused any issues to anybody'. He said he had never held himself out as a psychologist.
However, the commission found that McNally used the post nominal PhD as part of his marketing and business strategy to create a veneer of credibility and academic attainment. He is permanently prohibited from providing mental health services, or claiming to have a PhD.
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