Practitioner Rehabilitation following Professional Misconduct: A Common Practice Now in Need of a Theory?
Theories of rehabilitation have long been articulated in health and criminal justice contexts, driving rehabilitation practices in each area. In this article, several prominent theories are described to illustrate how their core assumptions aim to facilitate recovery and reduce relapse or reoffending. Professional disciplinary bodies are also often compelled by law or regulation to attend to practitioners’ rehabilitation after professional misconduct, with similar aims to restore the practitioner to safe practice. Yet, no rehabilitation theory has been articulated in this context despite professional rehabilitation being distinct from other settings. We propose that the current absence of a coherent theory is problematic, leaving professional disciplinary bodies to ‘borrow’ assumptions from elsewhere. Since rehabilitation penalties are frequently made by professional disciplinary bodies, we review several theories from health and justice contexts and highlight elements that may be useful in developing professional misconduct rehabilitation theory. This includes proposing methodological approaches for empirical research to progress this.