Florida board issues charges against therapist Frankie Anne Tester
September 13, 2010
On July 27, 2010, the State of Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling, Department of Health issued a statement of charges against licensed clinical social worker Frankie Anne Tester:
On May 17, 2005, a 43 year-old Norwegian female sought assistance from the Tester. The patient was referred by her estranged wife who wanted to assist the patient in dealing with great emotional pain following their marital separation. The patient’s wife asked for Tester to help repair their 12-year relationship. The patient had moved into an apartment with friends and wanted help dealing with the guilt over leaving the relationship.
Tester saw the patient on May 20, 2005. Following a summer visit to Norway, the patient saw Tester on November 11, 2005 and later on January 31, 2006 and thereafter one to two times per week until the therapy ended in late June 2006.
The wife of the patient was reported on January 31, 2006 as being OK with the patient seeing Tester. However, the patient reported to Tester on March 8, 2006 that her wife committed suicide on February 28, 2006.
Tester routinely hugs many of her patients at the conclusion of therapy sessions. On April 11, 2006, the patient questioned Tester about hugs at the end of their therapy sessions indicating the patient’s discomfort over this. Tester documented that she would thereafter not touch the patient.
On May 16, 2006, the patient expressed to Tester that she had thoughts of wanting to be physically close with Tester in the form of kissing and cuddling with her. Tester focused the therapy session on transference and noted that the patient might see Tester as a mother image. On May 18th, Tester brought up the transference issue with the patient and informed the patient that she might need to see someone else for therapy. On May 23rd, Tester notes that this issue may be OK, however the patient mentions on June 1st that she is struggling with wanting more from Tester.
On June 15, 2006, the patient, on her way home, dropped off Tester at a mechanic to pick up Tester’s car. In later therapy sessions, the patient stated that her progress was slowing due to the transference. In late June 2006 after concluding therapy with the patient, Tester took the patient to the airport and took the patient’s car to storage for the patient’s summer visit to Norway.
During the summer, Tester stayed in touch with the patient. Tester decided, following the end of her treatment, that the two could maintain a friendship going forward. When the former patient returned from Norway in the fall of 2006, the two became friends. The two spent time together attending a symphony, walking on the beach, cooking meals together, going to the movies, and attending church and the gym with one another.
During the summer of 2007, Tester visited Norway. In August 2007, Tester and former patient slept in the same bed and snuggled but did not have sex. In the fall of 2007, the two took a trip to Tennessee and slept with one another, but did not have sex. In or after November 2007, the two kissed on the mouth and slept several times with one another in the same bed while nude.
The former patient became increasingly hurt and confused as she pursued an intimate relationship with Tester. Tester expressed that she only wished to remain friends, though her actions on several occasions were inconsistent with this.
In March 2008, the former patient found a new psychotherapist and wrote a letter to Tester that she was ending the relationship. Tester honored this.
The Board charged Tester with failing to keep complete documentation on the patient, for failing to maintain a professional relationship with the patient for the patient’s overall betterment, and for engaging in sexual misconduct with the patient. Tester was placed on probation for one year and is required in this period to obtain supervision from another approved psychotherapist who will file regular reports on Tester, required to make appearances before the Board as requested, and is required to file reports on her progress with the supervisor.
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