Independent congressional candidate Martin Grohman has filed a complaint with the Maine Attorney General’s Office and two other agencies against Republican nominee Mark Holbrook, arguing that Holbrook has falsely portrayed himself as a psychologist. Holbrook said Grohman is playing politics by unfairly attacking his professional credentials.

Martin Grohman, independent candidate in 1st Congressional District Staff photo by John Ewing

Grohman and Holbrook are trying to unseat incumbent Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-North Haven, in Maine’s 1st Congressional District on Nov. 6.

Holbrook said he has a doctorate in clinical psychology from Fielding Graduate University, but has never portrayed himself as a practicing clinical psychologist, although he does have a therapy license and works as a counselor. Fielding Graduate University confirmed to the Portland Press Herald that Holbrook has a doctoral degree in psychology, graduating in 2009.

Holbrook said Grohman is “desperate” and retaliating for campaign emails in which Holbrook refers to Grohman as a “liberal Democrat masquerading as an independent.”

Mark Holbrook, Republican candidate in 1st Congressional District Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

“What (Grohman) is doing is pretty loathsome,” Holbrook said. “He will say anything to anybody to get their vote.”

Grohman, of Biddeford, filed complaints with the attorney general, Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office and the Maine Office of Professional and Financial Regulation. Holbrook, of Brunswick, had applied for a license to practice psychology in Maine, but it was canceled in 2015, according to state records. A state official said a “canceled” license means the application was never completed.

“According to state law, it is illegal to “profess to be or be presented to the public by any title incorporating the name ‘psychological,’ ‘psychologist’ or ‘psychology’ if one is not licensed as a psychologist,” a Grohman news release said.

Website searches using Holbrook’s name found references to him as a psychologist and Holbrook has said in media accounts that he is a psychologist, according to the Grohman news release.

“Mark Holbrook’s lack of candor about his license status is deeply disturbing,” said Riley Ploch, Grohman’s spokesman. “Advertising falsely to veterans and law enforcement officers who are struggling with serious mental conditions is shocking and unacceptable. We are calling on the proper authorities to act swiftly.”

Holbrook’s advertisement for services on the Psychology Today website refers to him as a “counselor” and also touts his membership in the American Psychological Association.

“My approach to psychotherapy is strength-based. I work collaboratively with my patients, synthesizing treatment techniques to best meet each person’s unique treatment goals,” Holbrook wrote on the website.

Holbrook said a few years ago that he sought a Maine license to be a clinical psychologist, but withdrew because he decided to instead pursue a license as a clinical professional counselor and a psychological examiner.

Holbrook said he can run his therapy business with those two licenses. A psychological examiner is licensed to give psychological tests. State records confirm that Holbrook has the counseling and psychological examiner licenses.

But Grohman’s campaign said Holbrook is being deceptive.

In the formal complaints to the three agencies, a letter signed by the Grohman campaign said, “This is not a one-off mistake. This is a long-term record of falsehoods aimed at deceiving the public and potential clients to profit from. I urge that you investigate this matter thoroughly and swiftly.”

Joe Lawlor can be contacted at 791-6376 or at:

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