Melbourne Psychologist Phillip L. Myers Loses License for Sex with Patient and Other Violations

August 6, 2021

On July 30, 2021, the Psychology Board of Australia reprimanded psychologist Phillip Lloyd Myers, revoked his license and disqualified him from reapplying for registration as a health practitioner until February 19, 2026.

These actions were the result of the Board’s investigation of six complaints it received against Myers—three from patients and three from other professionals, regarding various patients, which the Board received in 2015 and 2016.  

In total, the six complaints all allege that Myers “transgressed professional boundaries; that he engaged in inappropriate billing practices; that he failed to provide good client care; and that he failed to maintain accurate and adequate clinical records.”

The Board’s document states that Myers made disclosures to a few female patients about his personal life; conducted consultations with a patient in public venues, including a café; sent text messages to a female patient which did not relate to her health or psychological treatment and were not clinically necessary or justified; and engaged in a social, close personal, and/or sexual relationship with a patient or former patient, including physical intimacy and/or sexual intercourse on an approximately weekly basis.

Myers also engaged in a social and/or personal relationship with a male patient, to whom he made disclosures about his personal life and who he requested to undertake building work at his home and professional practice. He also sent text messages to the man which did not relate to health and were not clinically necessary or justified, and also sent a Facebook friend request to the man’s former partner.

The Board found that between November 2013 and April 2015, that Myers claimed Medicare reimbursements using billing numbers purportedly in connection with consultations with a patient but which were actually his attendance at social functions or sexual encounters with the patient. It was also found that he also billed Medicare for patient consultations which never occurred.

In a written statement to the Board in 2016, one female patient described the issues that led to her consulting Myers. There were matters concerning her sexual history that she did not want to discuss, yet Myers asked her to write about that as “homework.” Myers did not read what she wrote during sessions and rarely talked about it. He often discussed his marital problems and other family issues, and she felt as though she was his psychologist. They never spoke about the drug and alcohol issues she sought counselling for. Instead, he focused on sexual elements of her current relationships. She stopped seeing him because she said he “creeped her out” and she felt much worse than she did at the beginning of her counselling sessions with him.

Another patient had begun treatment with Myers at the end of a traumatic and abusive marriage. In a written statement to the Board in 2016, she stated that Myers spoke to her about his family and aspects of his financial history. He also told her about his “sexual exploits with other women.” More than once he showed her “semi-naked photos of women that he was seeing or having internet relationships with.” Myers spent more and more time talking about himself and his relationships. He made comments to the patient that she said were unwanted, such as “you are such a sexy, strong, attractive woman.” He sent her emails or text messages, addressing her as “beautiful girl” or “super girl,” for instance. He often put “X” in the messages. In one he said that he would like to hold her if she would let him. In another he said that he would love to be able to come and have a glass of wine with her if she or he needed someone. The patient said she stopped treatment with Myers, was “immeasurably damaged” by what happened and added that no amount of treatment could convince her that men in general did not have “an underlying motive or agenda.”

Yet another patient, who had sought counseling with Myers after being in an abusive relationship, provided a written statement to the Board in which she stated that Myers, who was supposed to be treating the patient for anxiety, instead spent lots of time talking about himself and his marriage and other family matters. He invited the patient to his home. Soon after, they began exchanging text messages frequently. She visited his home again, during which he engaged the patient in sexual intimacy. They often met after that and had sex on a number of occasions. The patient wrote that she thought they were dating. However, Myers told her he was seeing another woman. There were similar disclosures after that. The relationship with Myers gradually came to an end towards the end as he spent more time with the woman that he told her about earlier. The patient said that she struggled daily with sadness about Myers taking advantage of her illness. She said she had been severely affected by his actions as she believed that he loved her and was willing to keep seeing her to help her, but all he did was “destroy [her] mind” and give her “so much stress and heartache.”

Myers admitted that he’d engaged in sexual intercourse with one of his female patients but variously justified or denied the other allegations. Regardless, with the balance of evidence that the Board received and reviewed, it concluded that Myers had engaged in professional misconduct for his various boundary transgressions, failure to provide good patient care, billing fraud, and failure to maintain accurate and adequate clinical records, which took place over several years and caused substantial harm to four patients.

Source: Psychology Board of Australia v Myers (Review and Regulation) [2021] VCAT 848 (30 July 2021), Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Administrative Division, VCAT Reference no. Z991/2019, URL: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT//2021/848.html

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