Public Statement - Mr Patrick McNally - Life coach/ Therapist / Counsellor - Permanent prohibition order

15 November 2021

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (the Commission) investigated a complaint into the conduct of Patrick McNally (Mr McNally) an unregistered health practitioner who describes himself as a Life Coach, Therapist and Counsellor.

In his capacity as a Life Coach, Counsellor and Therapist Mr McNally provided mental health services and is considered to be an unregistered health practitioner and subject to the Code of Conduct for unregistered health practitioners (Code of Conduct) set out in schedule 3 of the Public Health Regulation 2012.

Based on a recommendation from a friend, the Complainant made an appointment to see Mr McNally in relation to their mental health issues including anxiety stemming from previous sexual abuse. The Complainant understood at the time that Mr McNally was a psychologist.

To treat the Complainant’s anxiety Mr McNally used a technique which he calls spinning. This involves rubbing someone’s throat, chest or stomach in the opposite direction to where the feelings of anxiety are being felt in the body. He stated when giving oral evidence to the Commission: You start under the chin, move down the neck using a very light touch, and say “Release and let it go. It’s okay to let it go. It’s safe to let it go. Release and let it go”.

The Commission’s investigation determined that Patrick McNally is not a psychologist and he has no training, qualifications or experience in mental health. As such, by failing to undertake any form of initial assessment of the Complainant and stating that he could treat her symptoms, he failed to deliver health services in a safe and ethical manner. He was also acting outside of the scope of his training and qualifications.

Mr McNally represented himself on his website, in his books, and emails as a therapist and used the letters PhD after his name. He published videos claiming to be able to reduce and cure anxiety through techniques such as ‘spinning’ and ‘tapping’. One client, believing Mr McNally was a psychologist, sought and was provided with treatment from him for mental health issues.

The Commission’s investigation found that Mr McNally was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology from Shaftesbury University in the United Kingdom. Shaftesbury University was not a legitimate educational institution and did not issue accredited degrees. Mr McNally holds no accredited qualification in psychology or mental health. Despite being fully aware that his PhD is bogus, he has continued to use these post nominals throughout his career to inflate his so-called credentials.

Mr McNally has conceded that he does not keep any records in relation to any of his clients. This is a breach of clause 15 of the Code of Conduct in that Mr McNally failed to maintain accurate, legible and contemporaneous clinical records for each client consultation.

The totality of his conduct represents a risk to the health and safety of the public. The Commission’s investigation determined that Mr McNally breached the following clauses of the Code of Conduct:

  • Clause 3(1): A health practitioner must provide health services in a safe and ethical manner.
  • Clause 3(1)(c): A health practitioner must not provide services that he or she is not qualified to provide.
  • Clause 2(d): A health practitioner must not use their possession of a particular qualification to mislead or deceive their clients as to their competence in their field of practice or ability provide treatment.
  • Clause 15: A health practitioner must maintain accurate, legible and contemporaneous clinical records for each client consultation.

Accordingly, the Commission makes the following prohibition orders under section 41A(2)(a) of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 (the Act):

Patrick McNally, who describes himself as a Life Coach, Therapist and Counsellor is permanently prohibited from:

  1. Providing, or causing to be provided, any health services to clients for the care or treatment of mental health issues, either in paid employment or voluntarily, to any member of the public.
  2. From this date onwards, not to use the post nominals PhD.

Further Information

Access the Commission’s Statement of Decision here

Access to the Commission's media release here.

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to

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