Adelaide Psychologist Mark Holmes Banned 7 Years for Sex with Patient

August 17, 2021

A psychologist who caused “severe psychological and emotional harm” by maintaining a sexual relationship with a patient then breached the victim’s trust by disclosing her medical information to his wife, a tribunal has found.

When the relationship was discovered, Dr. Mark Holmes denied his misconduct, then destroyed evidence in an attempt to hide what he had done from investigators.

Three members of South Australia’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal have reprimanded Dr. Holmes and banned him from practicing for seven years.

Dr. Holmes had treated the “vulnerable” woman, who had serious issues including borderline personality disorder, for about five years before he started an “inappropriate personal relationship” with her in late 2015.

The relationship turned sexual a short time later, and continued for the remainder of 2016 before Dr. Holmes’ wife was made aware of the situation in February 2017.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) was also made aware and launched an investigation into the psychologist, the tribunal said.

But Dr. Holmes “actively misled” the investigation by destroying evidence of the relationship on his electronic devices and, for several months, he denied there was any sexual relationship between the pair.

He continued his denials until mid-2017, when the victim explained the situation to her treating psychiatrist.

That doctor assessed her as having suffered “severe psychological and emotional harm” and “an injury to her psyche” as a result of the relationship.

The tribunal found Dr. Holmes breached professional boundaries, made worse by the fact that he covered up his conduct.

He also failed in his duty to safeguard the victim’s confidential sensitive personal information by telling his wife about the victim’s diagnosis and information about her condition.

Dr. Holmes told the tribunal he had made a “very terrible mistake,” he was sorry, and he had voluntarily relinquished his registration as a psychologist in 2017.

He said he has repaired his relationship with his wife, and was concentrating on “making myself valuable to my family again.”

But the tribunal was not satisfied Dr. Holmes has demonstrated full remorse for his misconduct.

“The tribunal is not satisfied that the respondent has taken or is taking any adequate steps to reflect on his misconduct and prevent a recurrence in the future of either an inappropriate personal relationship or an inappropriate sexual relationship,” they said.

The tribunal did not order Dr. Holmes to undertake any education or courses because it did not accept that further academic learning would be appropriate for an “already highly academically qualified person.”

Dr. Holmes suggested a disqualification period of 18 months would be appropriate, but the tribunal disqualified him from applying for registration as a psychologist for five years, and from providing any health service for seven years.

The order is dated September 2020, but was published at the end of last month.

Source: Kathryn Bermingham, “Adelaide psychologist Mark Holmes slapped with seven-year ban over sexual relationship with ‘vulnerable’ patient,” Adelaide Advertiser, Aug. 15, 2021, URL:


No comments.

Post your own comment here:

Your Comment