Psychologist seduced client and married her after pretending to be a runway model who once dated INXS singer Michael Hutchence – while her registration to practice is ripped up
- Karen Prowse allegedly told lies to seduce a client she eventually married
- Mrs Prowse has had her registration as a psychologist terminated for five years
- For confidential support, call Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14
A Sydney psychologist has been suspended for fabricating a past life as a runway model to seduce a client she eventually married before later committing suicide.
Karen Prowse allegedly told a series of lies to groom and exploit clients, including one she married who eventually committed suicide, the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal found.
Ms. Prowse crossed professional boundaries with a married patient, named Client A, over a 23-year period.
The court heard that she manipulated the client with false stories to gain the trust of the vulnerable woman before entering into a relationship with her.
Karen Prowse allegedly told a series of lies to groom and exploit clients, including one she married who eventually committed suicide, the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal found
The woman, who was married at the time with two children, sought help from Ms Prowse at the Mona Vale Community Center in 1997 after the death of a parent.
But instead of offering advice, Ms. Prowse allegedly manipulated the woman and fabricated a fabrication of lies, including that she was a former supermodel, had a degree from Harvard and once dated INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence.
The tribunal heard that Mr Prowse often falsely introduced himself to the client, at one point sharing a photograph of Elle Macpherson modeling in swimsuits claiming the image was of her in her youth.
Ms Prowse also allegedly told her client that she had lost her first husband to suicide, while claiming that her second husband and two children died in a car accident.
A photo emerged of the man she claimed was her late husband, in fact the headshot of a former patient of the mental health unit at Mona Vale Hospital in the early 1990s.
“The story is also completely fictional,” the former patient told the court.
“Mrs. Prowse and I have never had a relationship outside of therapy, and I’m certainly not dead.”
The tribunal heard that ‘Client A’ eventually left her husband of fifteen years to be with Mrs Prowse whom she later married.
The couple lived together for 15 years until the client committed suicide in 2020.
Psychologist Amanda Gordon reportedly told the tribunal: ‘The evidence provided by [Client A’s ex-husband] describes a manipulative woman, grooming his wife and taking her away from him, working her way into the family.
The tribunal heard that Ms Prowse often falsely introduced herself to the client, at one point she shared a photo of Elle Macpherson (pictured) modeling in swimsuits claiming the image was of her in her youth
“Mrs. 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 crossed professional boundaries with a second client, Client B, by entering into an inappropriate personal relationship with her.
Expert Dr Anthony Samuels told the tribunal that Ms Prowse was a ‘risk to the public’ and likely suffered from a more serious 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, the possibility that Ms. Prowse suffers from a more serious underlying mental disorder, such as a psychotic illness.”
In her initial response, Ms. Prowse denied that she had failed to respect proper professional boundaries.
However, she agreed that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder and acknowledged that she is currently unable to practice as a psychologist.
The tribunal revoked Ms Prowse’s registration as a psychologist for at least five years.
She was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct and disqualified from practicing.
The tribunal agreed that Ms Prowse suffers from a disability.
For confidential support, call Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14