Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Health and Human Resources
Department of Health Professions
Board of Psychology
Petition 151
Petition Information
Petition Title Standards of professional conduct
Date Filed 7/28/2011    [Transmittal Sheet]
Petitioner James D. Watwood 
Petitioner's Request

Increase the tme limit for romantic or sexual relationships with patients from two years after termination to indefinite when the patient has been a victim of rape, incest or sexual abuse.

Agency's Plan

In accordance with Virginia law, the petition was filed with the Register of Regulations with a request for comment to be received until September 20, 2011.  The petition will also be posted for comment on the Virginia Regulatory Townhall at  

At its next meeting which is scheduled for November 8, 2011, the Board will consider the petition and any comment received to decide whether or not to initate the rule-making process.
Comment Period Ended 9/20/2011
Agency Decision Take no action [Transmittal Sheet]    
Response Date 11/28/2011
Agency Decision Summary


At its meeting on November 8, 2011, the Board carefully considered and thoroughly discussed the petition. Its vote was to deny the petition because the Board has already proposed to extend the time limitation on relationships with clients from two to five years, which will provide greater separation between the termination of professional services and any initiation of a personal relationship. Notwithstanding the stated time prohibition, current regulations place the burden on the licensee to demonstrate that there has been no exploitation of a client in the initiation of a relationship after that time has passed. Additionally, the Board was concerned that documentation or differing interpretations of sexual abuse, etc. could make enforcement of a permanent prohibition difficult to enforce.

Contact Information
Name / Title: Elaine J. Yeatts  / Agency Regulatory Coordinator
Address: 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Richmond, 23233
Email Address:
Telephone: (804)367-4699    FAX: (804)527-4434    TDD: ()-