Patient Claims Doctor Urged Her to Touch 'Little Friend'
A doctor persuaded a woman who was frightened of physical contact to touch his genitals as part of her therapy, the General Medical Council was told yesterday.
Psychotherapist Dr Christopher Allison, aged 56, taught his patient, referred to only as Miss A, about sex by persuading her to let him touch her intimately, and to become familiar with his 'little friend', the GMC's Professional Conduct Committee in central London heard.
The married doctor showered his 44-year-old patient with gifts, and took her on trips to the park and drives in the country to boost her confidence as their relationship became increasingly sexual.
Lydia Barnfather, for the GMC, said that on one occasion the doctor tried to have sex with Miss A.
'She got scared and stopped him,' she said, adding: 'He knew she didn't like it, but he said he would try to teach her to like his 'little friend'.'
Allison began to encourage her to touch his genitals while he was aroused.
'It is right to say, however, that the relationship stopped short of penetrative intercourse,' Miss Barnfather said.
Allison, of Skippetts Lane West, Basingstoke, Hampshire, denies serious professional misconduct.
He is alleged to have encouraged an inappropriate 'emotional, physical and sexual relationship' with Miss A, and to have led her to believe this was for her benefit and a necessary part of her treatment.
He is also alleged to have failed to act in Miss A's best interests.
Allison admits telling Miss A that physical contact between them was for her benefit and was a necessary part of her treatment.
But he denies having encouraged an inappropriate emotional, physical and sexual relationship or not having paid due regard to the effect his behaviour would have on her.
Miss A was referred to Allison in January 1994 suffering from depression and low self-esteem which gave rise to an eating disorder and panic attacks.
During the pounds 30-an-hour monthly sessions, which were initially held at the doctor's clinic, then in an upstairs room of his house when the surgery moved, Allison discussed Miss A's problems and began giving her hugs and neck massages whenever she suffered panic attacks or was feeling anxious, Miss Barnfather said.
He bought her a book called The Tiny Book of Hugs, shared details of his own personal life.
'There were elements of a parent-child relationship rather than an adult one,' Miss Barnfather said.
But as the sessions continued Allison began massaging Miss A's breasts, then sucking them, and kissing her all over her body.
The monthly sessions increased in frequency, finally taking placing as often as once a week, at an inclusive monthly cost of pounds 60.
Miss A said she would spend most sessions sitting on Allison's lap after he had greeted her with a kiss on the lips.
'Then he would go inside my clothes and start undoing my underwear,' she said.
'He would say 'I'll keep you warm'. He would take my top off then my underwear off and start to kiss me.'
Miss A said she had not wanted a sexual relationship but had complied because: 'I was frightened if I annoyed him he would abandon me like everyone else in the past.'
Miss A said Allison expressed concern about their relationship after a session when they left the surgery to fly kites in the park.
She said: 'He (Allison) said 'for all I know you could go running to your GP and tell him you had been kissing and cuddling with me and he would throw his hands up in horror and report me to the GMC and I would be struck off'.'
The relationship ended in January 1999, when Allison left a message on her mobile telephone saying the treatment could not continue.
The hearing was adjourned until today.
A doctor persuaded a woman who was frightened of physical contact to touch his genitals as part of her therapy, the General Medical Council was told yesterday. …