BC psychiatrist resigns license after patient complains of abuse during psychedelic therapy research | CBC News

A BC psychiatrist has permanently surrendered her medical license after complaints about her treatment of a PTSD patient who was participating in a psychotherapy clinical trial, CBC News reports. powered by MDMA.

Donna Dryer of Cortes Island surrendered her registration Aug. 1 and received a formal reprimand after admitting to unprofessional conduct with female patients, according to a letter from the College of Physicians and Surgeons. BC Surgeon (CPSBC) sent to patient.

Disciplinary action has not yet been made public, but the letter said Dryer’s unprofessional conduct included conflicts of interest, boundary violations and continuing the therapeutic relationship when Dryer knew her husband and research partner. save Richard Yensen having sex with a patient.

The clinical trial’s sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), has described Yensen’s actions as sexual abuse. The patient filed a sexual assault complaint with police and in 2022, Quadra Island RCMP confirmed that they had recommended unspecified criminal charges, but said Crown prosecutors did not approve them .

Videos taken during patient sessions in the 2015 clinical trial show Dryer and Yensen fondling, spooning, blindfolding and pinning the clearly distressed woman. At one point, Yensen asked her to “lie down and spread her legs;” other times, he lies on top of her as she moans in pain.

CBC agreed not to name the patient because of the sensitive nature of the complaint, but she asked the Health Professions Review Board to review the school’s handling of the case.

The patient said she strongly objected to the wording of the university’s reprimand, which said Yensen “had sexual contact” with her.

“There is no such thing as consent between patient and therapist,” the patient told CBC via email.

“Considering sexual assault a ‘sexual relationship’ promotes victim blaming and implies consent in a context where consent is impossible.”

Yensen did not deny having sex with the patient but insisted it was consensual.

Former psychiatrist Donna Dryer and psychotherapist Richard Yensen are a married couple living on Cortes Island in B.C. (HeartoftheShaman.ca)

The patient also questioned the university’s decision to resolve the complaint through a consent agreement with Dryer and said she had not received an investigation report outlining why the The university again handled the complaint this way.

“They care more about protecting the reputation of doctors than protecting patients from rape,” she alleged.

In a written statement, a university spokesperson said a public notice of disciplinary action is expected to be posted online soon.

The university said officials cannot comment on Yensen’s actions because he is not a CPSBC registrant and cannot comment further on the case, which is currently under review by the Health Professions Board.

The dryer did not respond to a request for comment.

The sexual assault lawsuit was settled out of court

The complaint against Dryer was initially filed in 2018 and has now taken more than five years to be resolved.

The patient said she enrolled in the trial as a last-ditch effort to treat severe post-traumatic stress disorder caused by previous sexual abuse and assault.

Dryer and Yensen are working as sub-investigators for MAPS in a Health Canada-approved Phase II clinical trial testing the safety of MDMA, an addictive drug commonly known as ecstasy or molly, to treat PTSD.

Yensen admitted to having sex with the patient after the testing sessions ended but while she was still participating in the clinical trial.

In a 2018 lawsuit that was settled out of court, she alleged sexual assault. Yensen claimed in his response that the patient manipulated him and initiated the encounters.

A gloved hand holds three white pills.
The 2015 clinical trials were approved by Health Canada and were designed to test the safety of MDMA in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. (Ross Land/Getty Images)

Because counseling and psychotherapy are not regulated in BC, there is no university or regulatory body that can investigate what happened or consider disciplinary action against Yensen.

However, the BC Clinical Counseling Association’s latest standards of practice make clear that therapists who have sex with their clients are exploiting power imbalances and commit sexual misconduct. BC’s College of Psychology has similar, and clear, standards sexual contact with research participants is prohibited.

MAP made a statement in 2019 called Dryer and Yensen’s behavior with the patient unethical, announced that they had severed all ties with the couple, and agreed to pay the patient $15,000 for therapy.

After videos of the treatment sessions were released publicly in 2022, MAPS announced that it had launched a compliance review covering all of the couple’s work in the trial.

The organization has not yet responded to CBC News’ request for an update on the status of that review.

Dryer previously served as a clinical associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. A UBC spokesman confirmed Thursday that she was no longer at the university as of April 2022, but said he could not comment further because of privacy laws.

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