Warnings issued over fake psychologist operating in Perth

The Western Australian Department of Consumer Protection has issued a warning about a local mental health counsellor.

Consumers seeking mental health services are being warned about a North Fremantle man who the Department of Consumer Protection says is masquerading as a psychologist. Tyson John Vacher, aka Dr John Vacher and trading as John Vacher Psychology, has been making false or misleading statements on his website jvpsychology.com regarding his experience and qualifications.

Vacher has stated that he holds a psychology degree from the University of Southern Queensland and is a member of the Australian Counsellors’ Association, neither of which is true. A listing on the Psychology Today website also suggests he has a PhD.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping expressed concern that vulnerable people suffering from mental health issues may be duped and not get the expert treatment they need.

“It’s alarming to me that someone with no qualifications or experience as a practicing psychologist should be offering professional help to people who may be suffering from depression, anxiety, sexual abuse trauma or other mental health issues,” Chopping said.

“Our investigation into Mr Vacher has confirmed that he does not hold the formal qualifications in psychology that he claims and his assertion of having ten years’ experience is ridiculous considering he is only 23 years old.”

In September 2017 Tyson Vacher, who then operated a business called Black Tie Waiters, was fined $4,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court and ordered to pay $489 in compensation as well as court costs of $3,000. He was prosecuted by Consumer Protection for accepting payments to supply waiters for four functions but they failed to turn up. Black tie waiter was ordered to pay almost $7,500 for standing up clients (Tyson Vacher).

“Considering the previous prosecution by Consumer Protection and his lack of qualifications and experience in his current business venture, we believe Mr Vacher poses a danger to people who may be seeking help from him,” the Commissioner said.

“Consumers looking for the services of a health practitioner should check the AHPRA website to ensure that they are dealing with a suitably qualified and properly registered professional.”

Consumers who want to confirm whether an individual is registered with a national health practitioner board can check the register of practitioners maintained by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) or contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495.

WA consumers who have received treatment from Mr Vacher can lodge an online complaint with Consumer Protection or email [email protected] or call 1300 30 40 54.

Vacher first came to pubic prominence in 2015 when he advertising a nightclub event that was only open to people who attended Perth’s most elite private schools.  Two years later his waiter company saw him taken to court by the Department of Consumer Protection.

Speaking to Channel Nine news on Friday night Vacher denied he was a conman. Vacher told reporters that he was a counselor rather than a psychologist and denied ever promoting himself as a psychologist, despite his website listing his services as a psychologist.

WA consumers who have received treatment from Mr Vacher can lodge an online complaint with Consumer Protection or email [email protected] or call 1300 30 40 54.

OIP Staff

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