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Psychologist diagnoses mental illness in woman he'd never met

04/11/2014 09:10 EDT | Updated 06/11/2014 05:59 EDT
A woman at the centre of a court  battle with an ex-partner was unfairly diagnosed as mentally ill by a psychologist she'd never met.

Now Angelique Giles is calling for better oversight, discipline and punishment for psychologists who break the rules in B.C.

When Giles 'ex' went to B.C. Supreme Court , he was armed with the written opinion of veteran psychologist Dr. Timothy Clark. The opinion stated that Giles was suffering from borderline personality disorder. 

But a report by the Inquiry Committee of the B.C. College of Psychologists concluded that Clark had never met Giles let alone examined her. Clark's professional opinion, presented to the court,  was based, in part, on three emails supplied by Giles's ex-partner.

To add insult to injury, the College says, Dr. Clark had also been her ex-partner's therapist.

Giles says the whole experience was "horrifying"...and..."devastating."

"He was his doctor. It's just shocking, like, are you kidding me?

These misconceived ideas about who I was. What was I going to do?"

Giles says she was also accused of abusing alcohol and illegal drugs — none of which she says was true. 

She complained to the College, which concluded that Dr. Clark's actions did not meet the Code of Conduct standards in that he offered the court a diagnosis "without any opinion or other direct contact with her" and that he "engaged in conflicting roles."

College reprimand, a slap in the face

Dr. Clark agreed to a written reprimand and to write a letter of apology which turned out to be just two sentences.

"I regret your experience. I did not intend to cause you any harm," were the only words Clark wrote in a letter to Giles.

"I think it's a slap in the face," Giles told CBC News. "Not much happened — got a letter, got a sentence. That's about all that happened."

In its report, the College wrote it would have expected a more extensive letter from Dr. Clark, but nonetheless found his conveyance of regret was sincere.

But Giles says the case proves there needs to be better provincial oversight of B.C. psychologists and greater accountability.

"The laws really do have to open up to the reality that if these doctors break the code of ethics, they need to be responsible for their actions," she told CBC News. "I don't want this to ever happen to anyone ever again."

Dr. Clark declined a CBC request for an interview.

READ: Dr Clark's letter of apology

MORE:cbcNews