Pinellas County Therapist Loses License After Pursuing Rape Victim He Was Counseling

Stephen McGinley, a therapist with The Brain Enhancement Institute in Palm Harbor, has lost his license after a 2-time rape victim complained that McGinley had made unwanted sexual overtures during counseling sessions.

Per McGinley’s Yelp page, he’s been working as a mental health care provider in Pinellas County since 1990, “offering counseling services specializing in addictions, anger, anxiety, Christian, grief, parenting, relationships, and trauma.”

McGinley’s bio also references frequent appearances on Divine Direction for Men, an evangelical Christian radio program.

“The initial attraction I had for psychology was a fascination with people and relationships. I always enjoyed listening to my father converse with other people,” McGinley wrote on the Yelp profile. “I believe that God has given me certain gifts to be more than a good listener, to be a skilled therapist who can help people attain the growth they so desire.”

However, that’s not the only side to McGinley.  On July 11, the Florida Department of Health issued an ESO (emergency suspension order) after receiving complaints from the woman.

“Mr. McGinley became flirtatious … during their sessions and would tell her that she was beautiful and ‘hot,’ the ESO states. “Mr. McGinley also told [the woman] that he wanted to take her to expensive restaurants and would sit close to her on the couch, instead of sitting in a separate chair.”

In April, McGinley told his patient he wanted to “hang out” with her socially but that he’d “lose [his] license and get arrested.”

Calling her “extremely hot,” McGinely reportedly told the woman he fantasized about her, according to the ESO. “Mr. McGinley also began to call [the woman] ‘baby’ and use emojis demonstrating romantic attraction.” During one session, he played a song on his phone and convinced the young woman to slow-dance with him.

In April, the woman spoke about the situation to her previous therapist, who told her parents. When McGinley texted her again the following morning, they responded that he needed to cease communication with her immediately. That day McGinley told his receptionist and the owner of the Brain Enhancement Institute that he kissed the patient.

Her parents then filed a complaint with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. According to the ESO, “McGinley admitted to a deputy that he felt his conduct toward [the patient] was unethical and a poor decision on his part.”

Criminal charges have not been filed yet.

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