Psychologist struck off for relationship with client

Last updated 12:34 19/03/2008

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A psychologist who began a relationship with a client a week after he left her care has had her registration cancelled.

In 2006 a man was admitted to a psychiatric unit with an acute episode of mania.

He remained in the unit for two months during which his clinical psychologist developed an attraction to him.

After the man was discharged he moved to another city and the psychologist telephoned him regularly.

For personal and work reasons, the psychologist moved to the same city. She also moved into the same boarding house as her ex-client.

Their friendship grew and an intimate relationship began.

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal found the psychologist acted unethically by pursuing a relationship with a vulnerable client a week after his discharge from her care.

She failed to maintain professional boundaries with the ex-client and exploited the trust that had been established.

The psychologist's employer was not held liable as it had appropriate guidelines in place.

The psychologist was charged with professional misconduct and her registration was cancelled.

The commission ruled that prior to a re-application for registration a psychological examination was to be undertaken, the psychologist must disclose the ruling of the tribunal to all employers and provide satisfactory evidence to the Psychologists Board at the time of the application that her personal circumstances are stable.

She was fined $5000 and ordered to pay $5000 costs.

 

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