Psych Crime Reporter

November 5, 2012

Psychologist Kristina Duangpatra banned for six months for “personal and intimate relationship” with inmate

A FEMALE psychologist who had a “personal and intimate relationship” with a Brisbane prisoner – including offering to have his child – has been banned for six months.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal was told psychologist Kristina Nana Killam Duangpatra had an improper relationship with a prisoner over a two-year period.

QCAT acting Deputy President Kerrie O’Callaghan, in a just published eight-page decision, said Duagnpatra first met the prisoner, identified only as Mr Cougan, at Wacol’s Wolston Correctional Centre when she began treating him on August 3, 2009.

The tribunal became involved after a disciplinary referral from the Psychology Board of Australia indicated Duangpatra was having an improper relationship with a former patient.

“(Duanpatra) was employed as a psychologist by Queensland Corrective Services and provided psychological services to prisoners,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“Ms Duangpatra provided psychological services to a prisoner Mr Cougan between 3 August 2009 and 5 February 2010. The amount of counselling extended to approximately 45-50 occasions.”

The tribunal was told Duangpatra ended the “treating relationship” with Cougan when she resigned her position in February 2010.

However, within a week Duagnpatra was added to Cougan’s telephone list and they spoke on more than 400 occasions over a three month period.

“The discussions were often of an intimate nature … (and) they discussed having a child together,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

“(Duangpatra) told him ‘I would have one if you wanted’.

“There is extensive correspondence of an affectionate and sometimes intimate nature between Ms Duangpatra and Mr Cougan … (in which she) wrote to Mr Cougan expressing frustration at not being able to ‘kiss’ or ‘make love’ to him.”

In March 2010 the Psychology Board received a letter of complaint from Queensland Corrective Service’s Director of Ethical Standards about Duangpatra’s conduct and the Board instituted an investigation, Ms O’Callaghan said.

“In April 2010 Ms Duangpatra surrendered her registration to the Board,” she said.

“She reapplied for registration in August 2010 and was registered with conditions imposed requiring her to complete a minimum period of 18 months supervised practice.”

The tribunal was told Duangpatra accepted she was in “breach of the code of ethics in developing a personal relationship with Mr Cougan.”

Ms O’Callaghan, in handing down her findings, said: “The Tribunal finds that grounds exist for taking disciplinary action against Ms Duangpatra.”

“Engaging in a personal and intimate relationship with Mr Cougan at the time of terminating Mr Cougan’s treatment, or following an inappropriate interval after termination of their professional relationship, constituted unsatisfactory professional conduct.”

The tribunal ordered Duangpatra’s six month suspension be suspended after three months for a period of 18-months.

It also ordered she comply with a number of conditions, including a course of counselling with a clinical psychologist who specialises in boundary violation issues.

Source: Tony Keim, “Psychologist Kristina Nana Killam Duangpatra banned for six months for inappropriate relationship with prisoner,” The Courier-Mail, November 5, 2012.


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