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Australian psychologist banned after getting drunk and having sex with her patient.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 18/06/2017 Michelle Andrews
psych-ledner © Facebook/Mamamia psych-ledner

A Sydney psychologist has been banned from providing health services for 12 months after admitting to having sex and getting drunk with a patient who had an alcohol problem.

31-year-old Brooke Ledner learned the consequences of the inappropriate relationship, which took place between June 2014 and January 2015, on Thursday at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

“The seriousness of (her) conduct is exacerbated by her personal conduct of drinking to the point of intoxication with the patient A, who had been treated for alcohol abuse,” the tribunal said, according to Sydney Morning Herald.

“Patient A was plainly vulnerable and coming out of a difficult time in his life.”

Ledner began counselling Patient A in early 2014 at a drug and rehabilitation centre. The pair would go on to stay in touch for months after meeting until, in October that year, they met at a bar and later had sex. During the tenure of their relationship, the pair exchanged thousands of text messages.

The nature of the relationship defies the code of ethics set out by the Australian Psychological Society, which states that psychologists cannot have sex with a patient for at least two years after the professional relationship has ended.

Patient A said aspects of the relationship with Ledner re-trigged his alcoholism.

“I now realise she had complete control over me,” he said, detailing how he isolated himself from friends and family during the relationship and had thoughts of self-harm.

“For example, if we argued she would bring up things I had confided to her during counselling.”

Facing a full year out of work, Ledner expressed great remorse for her actions, and suggested she too was using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

The tribunal was satisfied that, in light of Ledner’s regretfulness, she would not repeat actions of misconduct in the future.

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