A veteran psychologist who specialised in post-traumatic stress disorder has been barred from practising for four years for having a sexual relationship with a patient (stock image)

A veteran psychologist who specialised in post-traumatic stress disorder has been barred from practising for four years for having a sexual relationship with a patient.

Douglas Brewer had been a registered psychologist for almost two decades when he met the 26-year-old woman who was admitted as an in-patient to Hollywood Private Hospital in the Perth suburb of Nedlands in January 2021.

The woman was reportedly at a high risk of suicide and self-harm and suffered from  post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

After she was discharged in February 2021, she began weekly therapy sessions with Dr Brewer at his private practice, which is also in Nedlands.

Western Australia’s State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) found that he began allowing her to study for exams in his office and would sometimes drive her home after work.

In May 2021, the pair went to an Indian restaurant before Dr Brewer dropped her home. They also met up for coffee the following month.  

A veteran psychologist who specialised in post-traumatic stress disorder has been barred from practising for four years for having a sexual relationship with a patient (stock image)

A veteran psychologist who specialised in post-traumatic stress disorder has been barred from practising for four years for having a sexual relationship with a patient (stock image)

In June 2021 they kissed in his office with the SAT finding Dr Brewer and the woman had sex four times in the following five months, three times at his office and one at the woman’s home.

Dr Brewer hired the woman as an office assistant for three months, paying her around $700 a week.

The woman’s employment ceased in October 2021, with Dr Brewer telling her that he was in love with her in September.

The relationship ended in November. 

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) contacted Dr Brewer in December 2021, asking for his response to allegations he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with the woman.

He denied they had a sexual relationship and described the woman as a former friend and employee with whom he had a close personal relationship. 

The SAT found his response had failed to give the full details of his relationship with the client and could have misled the board about their interactions.

In January 2022, the Psychology Board of Australia put a limit on where Dr Brewer could practice and ruled that his sessions with clients be supervised. 

He surrendered his registration two months after that.

The SAT has found that Dr Brewer engaged in professional misconduct and breached the Australian Psychological Society’s code of ethics.

He was barred from applying for re-registration for four years and ordered to pay $4,000 towards the Psychology Board of Australia’s costs.

The woman was reportedly at a high risk of suicide and self-harm and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety (stock image)

The woman was reportedly at a high risk of suicide and self-harm and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety (stock image) 

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