Disciplinary Action against Phillip McGraw, Ph.D.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
December 12, 2009

In January 1989, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists
reprimanded Phillip McGraw, Ph.D. for having an inappropriate dual relationship with a patient. As noted below, the Board concluded that McGraw had hired a former patient and that “probable cause existed with regard to a possible failure to provide proper separation between termination of therapy and the initiation of employment.” McGraw was required to undergo a psychological evaluation, complete a course in professional ethics, and have his practice monitored for one year. His complaint file was closed in June 1990 after the Board determined that he had satisfactorily complied with its order.

In re:

The Certification and
Licensure of

Phillip C. McGraw






On February 1, 1988, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (hereinafter referred to as the “Board”) received a formal complaint from Sara Jane Morrison, alleging unprofessional conduct upon the part of Phillip C. McGraw, a licensed psychologist. Specifically, it was alleged that an inappropriate dual relationship developed between the licensee and Sara Jane Morrison during the course of a therapeutic relationship which existed between the doctor and the complainant. Upon receipt of the accusations, the Board, in accordance with the mandate of Section 18c of the Texas Administrative Procedures and Texas Register Act Article 6252-13a, notified the licensee of the nature of the accusations and the possible ethical violations involved and afforded an opportunity to respond to these charges. The licensee’s response was received on or about May 3, 1988. The Board subsequently determined that probable cause existed with regard to a possible failure to provide proper separation between termination of therapy and the initiation of employment. The Board instituted formal proceedings in accordance with the procedures specified for adjudicatory actions under the Texas Administrative Procedures and Texas Register Act Article 6252-13a, and formal notice was given to the licensee in accordance therewith.

It is now the expressed desire of the licensee to waive a formal adjudicatory hearing before the Board, in accordance with the Texas Administrative procedures and Texas Register Act, and to enter into the following finding of facts, conclusions of law, and order of the Board:


I. Phillip C. McGraw, the licensee, is a psychologist certified and licensed by this Board to practice psychology in the state of Texas and is, therefore, subject to the jurisdiction of this Board under Article 4512c, V.T.C.S,—Psychologists’ Certification and Licensing Act.

II. That a doctor/patient relationship was established between the complainant and Phillip C. McGraw on or about June, 1984, and continued through August of 1985.

III. That licensee and complainant had an ongoing therapeutic relationship followed closely by a business relationship in the form of part-time temporary employment.


I. The licensee, having voluntarily received a license from the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists is bound by the provisions of the Act and the rules and regulations of the Board.

II. That the therapeutic and business relationships which developed between the licensee and the complainant was an inappropriate dual relationship constituting a violation of Ethical Principle 6(a).

III. A violation of the Board’s Code of Ethics may have occurred under Board Rule 461.3. Therefore, sanctions under Section 23 of the Psychologists’ Certification and Licensing Act are imposed.


NOW, THEREFORE, it is the order of the Board that Phillip C. McGraw:

I. Receive a public letter of reprimand from the Board of Examiners of psychologists over the signature of the Board Chairman. Said public letter of reprimand is to be included in and made a part of the licensee’s permanent record file.

II. Have his practice of psychology supervised by a psychologist under the following Board supervision guidelines:

A. The supervision is to be for 12 months from the date of Board acceptance of this order.

B. The licensee and a Board approved supervisor meet twice monthly at licensee’s expense and in the licensee’s office unless it is determined by the supervisor that less frequent meetings are necessary.

C. There are to be quarterly reports to the Board by the supervisor concerning the licensee’s practice.

D. A satisfactory final report concerning his practice will be filed which the Board must affirmatively accept as satisfying the requirement of supervision; and

E. Selection of a licensed psychologist shall be mutually agreed upon by the licensee and the Board and will provide supervision as required by the guidelines above with the provision that the supervisor may require additional supervision at his/her discretion.

III. Within twelve months from the date of entry of this Order the licensee shall enroll in a professional ethics course taken in a regionally accredited educational institution and approved, in advance, by the Board. A certified copy of the licensee’s passing grade must be sent directly from the university to the Board’s office.

IV. Pass the Board’s jurisprudence examination at the Board’s minimum acceptable score at the time the examination is administered.

First sitting shall be at the first Board administration of the examination following completion of the professional ethics course described in Section III above. Licensee shall sit for all consecutive administrations of the examination until passed. If licensee fails to pass the examination at first or subsequent sitting, licensee agrees to acquire additional formal education between examination administrations.

V. A complete physical evaluation by an M.D. and a psychological evaluation by either a licensed psychologist [the words “or psychiatrist” are crossed out] shall be made. In both instances, the doctors are to be previously approved by the Board and must certify to the Board that the licensee is psychologically and physically fit to provide psychological services to the consuming public. All evaluations are to be at the licensee’s expense.

A failure to reasonably comply with any part of this Order may result in immediate suspension for a 12 month period and such further discipline as the Board may lawfully order.

The licensee, by signing this Order, agrees to its terms and covenants that he will satisfactorily complete its requirements in a timely manner or be subject to appropriate disciplinary action of the Board.

The date of this Order shall be the date it is executed by the Board.

SIGNED this 27 day of January 1989



SIGNED this 17 day of October 1988.

Philip C. McGraw, Ph.D.

This page was posted on December 12, 2009.