Therapist who charged patient for sex is struck off for life

By Roland Hughes, Daily Post

A THERAPIST who started two relationships with former patients was last night struck off by a health watchdog.

Dr Steven Manley was suspended for three years last October after charging a sex abuse victim for "sex therapy" sessions..

And he was yesterday struck off for good after moving in with another vulnerable patient and admitting it on his own website.

The British Psychological Society (BPS), the UK’s main psychologists’ register, last night said they could not have acted without evidence brought forward by the Daily Post.

One expert warned the relationship with the vulnerable ex-client could have an extremely serious effect on her well-being in future.

Manley, who practised with the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, was found guilty of professional misconduct after a relationship with a woman known only as Mrs W.

A BPS hearing in October last year heard their relationship first became "inappropriate" within six months.

It was also claimed Manley charged Mrs W £35 an hour for private "sex therapy" sessions in car parks across North Wales.

He was suspended from the BPS register for three years, but was still allowed to practise independently.

Within days of the London hearing, however, it emerged Manley had started a relationship with another former client.

A Daily Post investigation showed Manley and the woman, known as K, shared the same address in Wrexham.

K’s website also claimed she was living with her partner, but she told the Daily Post Manley was using the house only as a postal address.

The BPS forbids therapists from starting relationships with clients until two years after the end of their professional relationship.

K left Manley’s care in April 2004, meaning the doctor would again have been in breach of the BPS’ code of conduct.

When Manley was confronted by the BPS over the allegations, he denied any claims of a relationship.

A letter read to yesterday’s London hearing said: "There is no sexual or emotional relationship with K.

"I took on the role of carer because I genuinely care about her welfare, as I did with all my clients… My role is simply that of carer, providing practical support."

However, on January 15 this year, the true nature of Manley and K’s relation-ship was made public on their online blog.

A posting under Manley’s name read: "K is the woman I have been looking for all my life and neither of us is complete or alive without the other."

A posting later that day by K claimed they had been in a relationship for 15 months.

A further blog entry by Manley on January 26 said: "K has certainly made a new man of me – I feel 20 years younger! She has enabled me to be more true to myself, to be the person I was meant to be…"

When confronted again by the BPS, Manley wrote: "It is true we are now in a loving relationship and what’s more, we intend to eventually get married and spend the rest of our lives together.

"I am fully aware of the implications this has for my continuing professional practice, but if this means that I have to give up my career as a clinical psycholo-gist and my membership of the BPS, then I feel it is a sacrifice worth making."

Manley did not attend yesterday’s Fleet Street hearing, and did not have a representative in his defence.

Casper Glyn, for the BPS, said: "This is a man who revels in having a relationship with a client within two years of the end of their professional relationship."

Manley was struck off the BPS register for life, although he indicated in a letter presented to the conduct hearing that he was about to resign his position.

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