My response was to refer the reader to a local religious order that could in turn recommend a spiritual director and a therapist. I added, “if they suggest for a therapist Philip Mango or one of the other therapists from the St. Michael’s Institute, ask them for an alternate suggestion. If they ask why, you can tell them to ask me.”
I did not want to tell why I would not recommend Mango, because I feared the answer would deter the reader from seeking professional help. But the reader wrote back asking the reason, so I responded:
There are enough good Catholic therapists in the NYC area without going to the St. Michael’s Institute. I had a bad experience with Mango and reported it to the state; he was later disciplined.The reply was not what I expected. The reader wrote back,
You cannot even imagine how much better it makes me feel and how validating it is to hear you say that. Because the thing is - some years ago I went to Mango for counseling and it was horrible. I’m sorry for your bad experience and while I don't know what your experience was - I know what mine was. The experience itself was bad enough - not to mention that I was going to him in such a desperate situation to begin with. This validation was desperately needed - thank you.This was not the first time I have heard from another person who had a negative experience with Mango. It was the fifth. But it was the first time that a My Peace I Give You reader reported such an experience. Since I feel a responsibility to my readers, I would like, for the record, to now say publicly that I do not recommend Mango.
After my negative experience with Mango, in 2007, I complained to the New York State Office of the Professions. Two and a half years later, they disciplined him. Although I do not know for certain whether the discipline was provoked by my complaint, the charges to which Mango admitted are consistent with what I reported. From the NYSOP website:
Philip John Mango, New York, NYThis is an opportune time to repeat advice I give in My Peace I Give You when speaking of how to choose a therapist: “If the name of the school the therapist attended is unfamiliar to you, search online to ensure that it is accredited.”
Profession: Licensed Mental Health Counselor; Lic. No. 000977; Cal. No. 24168
Regents Action Date: September 15, 2009
Action: Application for consent order granted; Penalty agreed upon: 1 month actual suspension, 23 month stayed suspension, 24 months probation, $2,500 fine.
Summary: Licensee admitted to charges of revealing a patient’s name, status, position, place of employment and private telephone numbers without the prior consent of the patient and not as authorized or required by law.
Mango’s PhD is from Clayton University.
UPDATE, 4/21/14, 7:10 p.m.: Rod Dreher tells about his own experience as a patient of Mango.