Formal Notice from the Ethics Committee

The National Executive has formally received from the Ethics Committee the outcome of case 315, after a hearing conducted in Auckland.

In its decision of 22nd January 2013 the Panel found that the Respondent, Tina Marie Sharman of Auckland, was guilty of professional misconduct in the following particulars:
1. Continuing a counselling relationship for 13 years and more than 570 sessions, when the benefits for the client were ambiguous at best;
2. Failing to establish clear and reasonable terms (including financial arrangements) for the counselling relationship with her client;
3. Obtaining toys, food and parcels from the complainant client for other clients on several occasions over a prolonged period of time;
4. Discussing her own medical situation and medication with the complainant client, and discussing the needs of other clients with the complainant.

In its decision as to sanctions dated 26th March 2013, which it confirmed on 12th February 2014, the Panel required the Respondent:
1. To cease and desist from the practice of requesting parcels, food and toys from one client for another or other clients;
2. To undertake a programme of education under the direction of the Ethics Committee, either:
a. By pursuing an individualised study programme, in addition to fortnightly supervision, of not less than a year, under the guidance of a professional counsellor acceptable to the Ethics Committee; or
b. By engaging in a formal counsellor education programme, to at least Diploma level, with a tertiary provider acceptable to the Ethics Committee.
In either case, the Respondent is to provide the educator(s) with full information about the findings and the imposed sanctions in relation to the Complaint against her; and the Ethics Committee with written evidence of progress and completion, demonstrating that she has addressed the matters of concern;
3. To submit to the Ethics Committee a professional disclosure statement which clearly sets out the terms on which counselling is offered and which she will give to each client with whom she is working at the date of that statement and to all new clients who consult her;
4. To provide to any third party funders and/ or other professional associations of which she is a member copies of the decisions of the Hearing Panel, and to provide verification to the Ethics Secretary that she has done this.

On the Ethics Committee’s recommendation National Executive have also:
1. Downgraded the Membership Status for Tina Marie Sharman of Auckland from Full to Provisional Member.
2. Ruled that the outcome of the Panel’s hearing be published on the NZAC website.

In June 2014 Ms Sharman allowed her NZAC Membership to lapse, without her having completed any of the sanctions. Matters between the NZAC Ethics Committee and Ms Sharman are therefore suspended. These will be resumed, should she, at any stage, re-apply for Membership.

Sue Webb,
Ethics Convenor