Psychologist Gerard Knobel Had Sex with Wife of Married Couple He Counseled

February 5, 2021

A psychologist counselling a couple for marital problems had sex with the wife in his consulting rooms.

Gerard Knobel, who saw the married couple in regional Victoria both individually and together, admitted the sexual relationship and had subsequently been suspended, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard. [Australia]

But the Victorian registered psychologist refuted allegations he had some of the sex sessions on the public purse, during Medicare-funded consultations, or during paid consultations.

“Mr Knobel admits that he engaged in physical intimacy and/or sexual intercourse with (the wife) on at least 10 occasions … he admits that he sometimes had sex with (the wife) in his consulting room, but he denies that he ever had sex with her during consultations. Mr Knobel otherwise admits the boundary transgression allegations,” tribunal members noted.

The Psychology Board of Australia referred the matter to VCAT in 2019, after learning of the alleged transgressions.

“The evidence before us is wide-ranging. In particular, there is detailed evidence about the relationship between Mr Knobel and (the wife) especially about how the relationship began and how it ended and about the recriminations that followed. There is evidence about the impact that Mr Knobel’s conduct had on (the wife and husband).

“There is evidence about how Mr Knobel became aware of irregularities in his billing practices and what steps he took to remedy that … after we have heard further from the parties, we will characterise Mr Knobel’s conduct and make our determinations,” the tribunal concluded last week.

The wife attended 13 consultations with Mr Knobel under a government-funded Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) for both her marriage problems and associated anxiety, it was told.

In the same year, the husband attended seven consultations under a MHCP for the marriage issues “and associated symptoms of reactive depression”.

Together, the couple attended nine consultations, in an effort to improve their marriage.

Following a number of consultations, the wife confided in Mr Knobel that she was sexually attracted to him, but his treatment of the couple continued, the tribunal noted.

“He continued to conduct consultations with (the husband) while he was engaged in a social, personal or sexual relationship with (the wife),” it said.

According to the Australian Psychological Society’s Code of Ethics, psychologists must maintain proper professional boundaries with clients and colleagues and refrain from engaging in relationships which could impair their competence, effectiveness, objectivity or ability to render effective psychological care.

The guidelines also state they should not engage in sexual activity with a client or anybody closely related to one of their clients.

Source: Mandy Squires, “Psychologist treating couple for marriage problems slept with wife,” Herald Sun, Feb. 1, 2021.


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