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Update: John Knapp’s NYS Social Work License Revoked

February 16, 2014

As an update to postings from 2011 about this matter, after a very lengthy process which began in October, 2010, as of January 14, 2014, thanks to the persistence and courage of a former client, John Knapp’s New York State Social Work license has been revoked. Click here to read the Board’s decision. As indicated on the Board’s website, Knapp has been found guilty of professional misconduct, negligence, incompetence and unprofessional conduct. This is a very serious action and it is rare that State Boards, who will, based on other cases I have been privy to, give the practitioner every benefit of the doubt and chance to improve, would take such an action.

Go here to read the client’s complaint, which she chose to post to her blog with names redacted, which gives more detail regarding this social worker’s behavior towards his client, including engaging in dual relationships, negligence and professional misconduct.

Although it is not ever a pleasant matter to see a mental health professional who has gone so far that remedial action is not possible and the license needs to be revoked, what this shows is that although there are never any guarantees, it is possible, with persistence to stop a licensed mental health professional from doing further harm, at least as a mental health professional. He can operate under another job description, such as “coach” or thought reform consultant, but when it comes to dealing with unlicensed people, it’s buyer beware. That said, recent reports indicate that at least for the time being, he has given up the practice of therapy altogether at least for the time being, and has become a singer in a duo with his wife.

Another point for mental health consumers to be aware of is that the complaint was originally filed in October 2010. This process took over three years and these long, drawn out processes are not uncommon, during which time the disciplinary action does not appear on the person’s record until the final decision is made and published. The moral of this story is don’t assume that just because you do a search on a licensed professional’s record and it comes up clean, that there have been no complaints. There could be complaints in the process of being heard or what is very common is that the Board chooses to issue a warning or reprimand to the professional and nothing appears on his or her record. This particular case involved a clinical social worker practicing psychotherapy, but can also apply to psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed mental health counselors and other mental health professionals.

Another common tactic is for the person to claim an “expertise” that makes them above the rules mental health professionals are required to follow. So-called “cult experts” may try to claim this, but this case demonstrates that in reality, they must follow the same rules as everyone else in their profession.

Again, I applaud the courage and persistence of this former client in coming forward and seeing this through. She has done a great service to many future clients seeking help.

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