Rules allowed use of dog collar on patient, Australian psychologist tells court
London Guardian | January 30, 2007
An Australian psychologist charged with indecently assaulting a female patient told a court today that forcing her to wear a dog collar and call him master was within ethical guidelines.
Mr Beaton told the court he had resorted to drastic treatment because gentle methods were not working.
Bruce Beaton, 64, has pleaded not guilty in the Western Australia district court in Perth to four charges of sexually assaulting the 22-year-old woman he was treating for bulimia at his clinic in the neighbouring city of Fremantle between January and March 2005.
He said he thought role-playing a dominant/submissive relationship would help build a more trusting relationship so he made her wear a dog collar and call him master, and he cracked a whip in treatment sessions.
He said such treatment was allowed by the country's largest professional association for psychologists, the Australian Psychological Society. "It is right within the ethical guidelines."
Mr Beaton was arrested when police raided his office in March 2005 after hearing whipping sounds while they secretly videotaped one of his sessions through a camera hidden in the patient's bag.
The jury has watched the tape, on which Mr Beaton is heard calling the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, his "delicious" submissive and she calls him "master".
She is seen wearing a dog collar and heard swearing an oath to offer her body to him in order "to become a better person".
Mr Beaton is heard, but not seen, cracking a cat-o'-nine tails whip 12 times before police intervene.
Mr Beaton denied ever whipping his patient. The woman, now aged 24, told the court last week that he had repeatedly whipped her and that the lashes had stung like rose thorns.
She said she was often told to take off her clothes during therapy sessions, and when she refused to remove her underwear, she was beaten with a wire coat hanger.
The prosecutor, Amanda Forrester, told the court the woman complained to police the day after being forced to lie naked on a couch in his clinic while he sexually assaulted her.
The maximum penalty Mr Beaton faces was not immediately clear.
The trial continues.
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