Doctor 'Lured a Lonely Patient into Sex Games'; Psychotherapist Accused of Playing on Vulnerable Woman's Need for Comfort

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK CRAVEN

A VULNERABLE woman patient told yesterday how a psychotherapist used his influence to lure her into an improper sexual relationship lasting five years.

Dr Christopher Allison, 56, persuaded the patient, identified as 'Miss A', to touch him intimately and to become familiar with his 'little friend', the General Medical Council's Professional Conduct Committee heard.

The married doctor showered his 44-year-old patient with gifts and took her on outings to boost her confidence as their relationship became increasingly sexual.

Miss A, a diminutive redhead who once worked as a bank clerk, said she would spend most treatment sessions sitting on Allison's lap after he 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 was referred to Allison in January 1994 suffering from depression and low self-esteem which gave rise to an eating disorder and panic attacks.

She was treated at 'cut-price' [pounds sterling]30-an-hour sessions held once a month at the Fairfields Clinic, in Basingstoke, Hampshire, where Allison was medical director of complementary medicine and from 1995 at his home, from where he ran a

practice. His wife Anne worked as an administrative assistant at both practices.

Allison discussed Miss A's problems and began giving her hugs and neck massages when she suffered panic attacks, said Miss Lydia Barnfather, for the GMC.

He bought her a book called The Tiny Book of Hugs, shared details of his own life and encouraged her to phone him and write to him.

'There were elements of a parent-child relationship rather than an adult one,' Miss Barnfather added. 'She found the aspect of physical contact comforting.' As the sessions continued Allison began touching Miss A intimately. The monthly sessions increased in frequency, finally taking placing as often as once a week, at an inclusive monthly cost of [pounds sterling]60.

Referring to diary entries she had kept over the years, Miss A said Allison expressed concern about their relationship after a session when they left the surgery to fly kites in the park.

She recalled: 'He said, "For all I know you could go running to your GP and tell him you had been kissing and cuddling with me in the park, and he would throw his hands up in horror and report me to the GMC and I would be struck off".' Miss A said that when Allison had tried to have sexual intercourse with her she stopped him because she felt 'absolutely terrified'.

He also came to her house and gave her a bath, she told the hearing.

Miss A did not want a sexual relationship but complied because 'I was frightened if I annoyed him he would abandon me like everyone else in the past'. …