Jordan Peterson Says Ontario Psychologist’s License May Be Suspended Due to Public Statements

Controversial author and public figure Jordan Peterson has been told to take a mandatory “coaching program” by the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) because of public statements he has made.

Peterson, however, said all of the complaints at issue are political and have nothing to do with his past or present clients as a psychologist.

“I must take a course of this training, with reports documenting my ‘progress,’ or face in-person court and suspension of my license to practice as a licensed clinical psychologist,” Peterson wrote on Twitter. .

Peterson, who has often made headlines for controversial views and is celebrated on the right, said he would not comply.

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Peterson first courted controversy for refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns while teaching at the University of Toronto. He achieved international fame with sold-out lectures and best-selling books.

The CPO is the governing body of psychologists in Ontario, whose mandate is to “protect the public interest by overseeing and regulating the practice of psychology,” according to its website.

“About a dozen people around the world filed complaints about my public statements on Twitter and (Joe) Rogan over a four-year period (out of the 15 million who follow me on social media) claiming that I had ‘hurt “people. (not them) with my opinions,” Peterson said.

He said the CPO could have viewed the complaints as vexatious, but decided to pursue them.

“I have been accused of harming people, although none of the plaintiffs involved in the current action have been clients of mine, past or present, or even know any of my clients,” did he declare.

Peterson said many of those who filed complaints claimed they were his clients, though that’s not true.

Among the concerns, Peterson expressed support for federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre and criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to Peterson. It’s unclear which comments are of concern to the CPO – the organization did not say in a statement to Global News citing privacy rules.

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Peterson said he intended to publicize the allegations whenever possible while respecting legal and ethical restrictions.

In a column written by Peterson in the National Post on Wednesday, Peterson added that he was accused of being “sexist, transphobic, incapable of the body positivity required in relation to morbid obesity and, unforgivable of all, a denier of the climate change”.

“Each of these charges (and now accepted evidence of my professional misconduct) is independent of my clinical practice – which, by the way, has been suspended since 2017, when my growing notoriety or fame allowed me to continue in as a private therapist practically and ethically impossible,” Peterson wrote.

The National Post, however, reported that in 2018, Peterson agreed to a plan to improve his clinical practice. The newspaper said there were few details about what constituted professional misconduct in this case, but the complaint concerned the way it communicates with patients, the quality of its service and the boundaries between psychologist and patient. .

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According to a document posted to Twitter by Peterson on Wednesday morning from the CPO, his complaints committee said in a report that he was concerned that he “lacks professionalism in public statements made on social media and during a podcast appearance. January 25, 2022”.

In turn, the CPO said Peterson should complete a coaching program at his own expense “to review, reflect on and improve (his) professionalism in public statements.”

If he does not follow the program and the coach does not provide a report that the problems have been “appropriately corrected in the public interest”, it may constitute professional misconduct and lead to an investigation, the document says. .

Peterson said the situation highlights broader concerns in Canadian society, where professionals are “afraid to tell you the truth.”

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In its statement to Global News, the CPO said: “The College is not permitted to discuss this matter in accordance with the confidentiality provisions of section 36 of the Regulated Health Professions Act 1991 of the Ontario.”

The CPO provided a link to publicly available information about Peterson.

Under the “discipline and other procedures” tab of his profile, he confirms that Peterson is required to participate in a “specified continuing education or remedial program” regarding his “professionalism” in public statements.

It also indicates that Peterson has filed a Notice of Application for Judicial Review with the Ontario Divisional Court. Peterson said he was mounting a constitutional challenge.

In a follow-up email, Global News asked the college what standards of conduct it had for Approved Persons regarding their public behavior not directly related to their practice, but received no response.

The CPO’s professional standards for public statements refer extensively to advertising the services, although there is a section regarding providing “information, advice or comment to the public through any medium”.

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CPO standards state that members must ensure, among other things, that “representations are accurate and based on current professional literature or research” and that “representations are consistent with professional standards, policies and the ethics currently adopted by the Order”.

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It’s unclear what professional standards the college might be concerned about regarding the Peterson case.

Peterson’s Twitter posts regarding the CPO drew a lot of attention, including from Elon Musk.

Musk appeared to encourage Peterson to livestream any potential disciplinary hearings.

“I will ensure that the disciplinary hearing, if and when it occurs, is made available on my YouTube channel,” Peterson said in response.

“And Twitter spaces, which I don’t know how to use yet.”

— With files by Andrew Russell

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