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Former Arbour counselor cited for lack of license

A second former employee of Arbour Health System has signed an agreement with the state admitting that he falsely represented his clinical qualifications while working for the for-profit company, a major provider of mental health services in Massachusetts.

Andrés G. Niño admitted to presenting himself as an Arbour “staff psychologist” on a resume and as a “clinical psychologist” on his own website, though he was never licensed as a psychologist by the state. Niño said in the agreement with the Board of Registration of Psychologists that he had supervision during the nearly two decades that he saw patients at Arbour Counseling Center in Lawrence.

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Unlicensed people are permitted by state law to provide counseling in mental health clinics, if they have regular oversight from a professional. The Globe reported last month that state regulators recently cited Arbour’s Lawrence clinic for allowing therapists to treat mentally ill patients without the proper qualifications or regular supervision.

Niño agreed to pay a $1,000 penalty and to cease using the title unless he becomes licensed. In a document provided to the board, he said he is no longer employed by Arbour or working anywhere else as a clinical therapist. His attorney, Rick Nahigian, declined to comment for this report. An Arbour spokeswoman also did not comment before deadline, and it is unclear whether the firm was aware he was not licensed.

Another former Arbour employee, Anna Fuchu, signed a similar agreement with the board last year, admitting to representing herself as a psychologist though she was not licensed.

Niño’s agreement, effective since June 19, was provided to the Globe Wednesday under a state records request. Niño’s case, Fuchu’s, and the inspection of the Lawrence clinic were prompted by complaints made by the family of a young woman who was treated there.

In a lawsuit pending in federal court, Yarushka Rivera’s mother and stepfather allege that Fuchu diagnosed her with bipolar disorder, though Fuchu was not qualified to do so. Another provider later prescribed an antiseizure medication often given for mood disorders. Rivera died of a seizure at age 19.

Niño never treated Rivera, but her stepfather wrote in an e-mail to a state investigator that he had learned through his own research that Niño also was not licensed.

On his website, Niño says he has taught psychology or provided religious advising at several Massachusetts colleges, is a member of the Catholic Augustinian Order, and is affiliated with Saint Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Cambridge.

Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@
boston.com
. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.
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