New South Wales psychologist Katherine Asminaris loses license for personal relationship with patient; sent teen inmate sexually explicit letter

August 11, 2009

The Psychologists Tribunal of New South Wales (Australia) revoked the license of psychologist Katherine Asminaris.  According to the Tribunal’s documents, Asminaris, while employed in the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), committed professional misconduct.  In particular, the document states that between July and September 2006, Asminaris failed to maintain professional boundaries with a male client who was a detainee of the DJJ.  According the DJJ documents, Asminaris counseled a teenage male client at the detention facility but when he was transferred with no notice to another facility, DJJ personnel intercepted several phone calls to the former inmate from a “Sarah Miller,” which led them to intercept a letter to the client from “Miller” which contained romantic and sexually explicit content, as well as photos of Asminaris, indicating an inappropriate and sexualized personal relationship between the psychologist and the inmate.  Numerous DJJ personnel confirmed they had noted Asminaris spending a lot of time with the client and had at one time or another seen Asminaris counseling the client while sitting in the doorway of his room during shower-lockdown time.  Several DJJ staff members identified Asminaris’ voice from recordings of the intercepted phone calls.  She may not reapply for her license for a minimum period of three years and is prohibited during that time from providing therapy, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, mental health service, welfare service, counseling and any other alternative/healing health care/therapies.

(Health Care Complaints Commission v. Asminaris [2009] NSWPST 4, 11 August 2009, Matter Number: PST 002/2008, CR0037847, in the Matter of Katherine Asminaris.)


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