Sex with client costs Everett counselor her license

EVERETT — An Everett counselor who had sex with a client has had her professional license suspended for at least three years by the state Department of Health.

The counselor, Dana Blyzes, was hired by Sunrise Commun

ity Mental Health last year. Its Snohomish County mental health offices are on Broadway in north Everett.

Blyzes was licensed to practice in Washington on Oct. 22 and began assisting a client, a man in his 20s, shortly thereafter, said Tammy Kelley, a Department of Health case manager.

Their sexual relationship occurred sometime during the month of November, according to state agency documents recounting the case.

It’s unclear how many sexual contacts occurred with the man, Kelley said. The contacts began within a few weeks after Blyzes, in her mid-30s, took over counseling for the man, Kelley said.

Blyzes continued to have weekly counseling sessions with the patient through Dec. 21.

The state prohibits health-care providers, including counselors, from having sex with a patient. Doing so constitutes professional misconduct, which can lead to disciplinary action by the state.

The state filed its initial statement of charges against Blyzes on May 27. The state’s decision in the case, suspending Blyzes’ license, was signed on July 15.

Blyzes could not be reached for comment. Blyzes waived her right to a hearing and she was not represented by an attorney in the proceedings, according to the state health department.

Blyzes was terminated shortly after Sunrise learned of the sexual contact with a patient, Mike Manley, administrator of community mental health services, said Wednesday.

He said he could not give details on how the agency discovered the problem. “When we learned of the situation, we took very immediate action,” he said.

Some 700 people are assisted with mental health services by 18 counselors at its offices in north Everett, Manley said. The organization also offers counseling services in Mount Vernon.

“People with mental illness are vulnerable individuals,” Manley said. “As a company in the mental health business, we take very seriously protecting the interests of our clients.”

If Blyzes wants to work again as a counselor, she must undergo what the state describes as a psycho- sexual/mental evaluation by a psychiatrist or mental health specialist who must provide a report to the state.

The report must include an opinion of whether Blyzes can practice as a counselor without posing an unreasonable risk of harm to a patient and if she should undergo counseling.

The state can also impose restrictions on her license to work as a counselor.

Sunrise Community Mental Health is at 1021 N. Broadway. The nonprofit organization moved its mental health services to the building in 2009.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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