Sydney Psychologist Karen Prowse Suspended Five Years for Seducing, Marrying Patient

May 17, 2023

A Sydney psychologist has been struck off for fabricating a former life as a catwalk model to seduce a client whom she ended up marrying before she later killed herself.

Karen Prowse allegedly told a series of lies to groom and exploit clients, including one she married who ended up taking her own life, the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal found.

Ms. Prowse breached professional boundaries with a married patient, referred to as Client A, over a 23-year period.

The tribunal heard she manipulated the client with false stories to gain the vulnerable woman’s trust before entering into a relationship with her, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The woman, who at the time was married with two children, sought help from Ms. Prowse in 1997 at Mona Vale Community Centre following the death of a parent.

But instead of offering counselling it is alleged Ms. Prowse manipulated the woman, spinning a concoction of lies including that she was a former super model, had a degree from Harvard and once dated INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence.

The tribunal heard that Ms. Prowse often falsely represented herself to the client, at one point sharing a photo of Elle Macpherson modelling in swimsuits and claiming the image was of her in her youth.

Ms. Prowse also allegedly told her client she had lost her first husband to suicide, while she claimed her second husband and two children died in a car accident.

It emerged a picture of the man she claimed to be her deceased husband was actually the head shot of a former patient from the mental health unit at Mona Vale Hospital in the early 1990s.

“The story is also completely fictional,” the former patient told the tribunal.

“Ms. Prowse and I never had any sort of relationship outside of the therapeutic one, and I am definitely not dead.”

The tribunal heard that “Client A” eventually left her husband of fifteen years to be with Ms. Prowse who she later married.

The couple lived together for 15 years until the client took her own life in 2020.

Psychologist Amanda Gordon reportedly told the tribunal: “The evidence provided by [Client A’s ex-husband] is describing a manipulative woman, grooming his wife and taking her away from him, wheedling her way into the family.”

“Ms. Prowse consciously and mindfully used her role as a psychologist to seduce his wife.”

It was also alleged that in early 2018, while working at Avalon Wholistic Centre, Ms. Prowse breached professional boundaries with a second client, Client B, by entering into an inappropriate personal relationship with her.

Expert Dr. Anthony Samuels told the tribunal Ms. Prowse was a “risk to the public” and was likely suffering from some more severe underlying mental disorder such as a psychotic illness.

“The allegations made by (Client A’s daughter) are among the most disturbing and concerning that I have heard in the context of my professional role.

“They certainly raise the possibility of a severe personality disorder with social and narcissistic features … There is of course a possibility that Ms. Prowse is suffering from some more severe underlying mental disorder such as psychotic illness.”

In her initial reply, Ms. Prowse denied she had failed to observe proper professional boundaries.

However, she agreed she was she is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder and acknowledged she is not presently competent to practise as a psychologist.

The tribunal cancelled Ms. Prowse’s registration as a psychologist for at least five years.

She was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct and not competent to practise.

The tribunal agreed Ms. Prowse is suffering from an impairment.

Source: Max Aitchison, “Psychologist seduced client and married her after pretending she was a catwalk model who once dated INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence - as her registration to practice is torn up,” Daily Mail Australia, May 14, 2023, URL:  

2023-05-22 05:36:54
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