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Celebrity Psychologist Loses License After Affair With Client Revealed

A celebrity psychologist whose videos have garnered millions of views has been prohibited from practicing after allegations of a “sexual relationship” with a client. He claims, however, that such a relationship could not have occurred due to his erectile dysfunction.

Sydney-based psychologist Dr. Ali Sahebi was found guilty of “unsatisfactory professional conduct” and “professional misconduct” by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The tribunal’s decision, made on Thursday morning, resulted in the cancellation of his professional registration.

Originally from Iran, Dr. Sahebi has a substantial following with over 400,000 Instagram followers and multiple TED talks on psychology. Earlier this year, he faced backlash for a controversial video where he described homosexuality as a “self-destructive behavior.” He subsequently took down the video and issued an apology following a petition.

The tribunal revealed that Dr. Sahebi, who was married and had children at the time, began the alleged sexual relationship with a therapeutic patient in April and May of 2021. The patient formally complained to the Health Care Complaints Commission in August 2021, leading to the tribunal’s investigation.

The relationship reportedly started during private therapy sessions where the patient sought help for her mother’s recent death and financial troubles. Dr. Sahebi invited her to regular group therapy sessions at his home, which involved socializing and drinking. On one occasion, the pair consumed “good quality whisky,” after which the patient claimed they became physical.

In her statement, the patient recounted feeling “drunk” when they had sexual intercourse but was conscious and shocked by the event. She quoted Dr. Sahebi expressing affection and a desire to be her partner, despite his existing marriage. The relationship continued until mid-May, when Dr. Sahebi traveled to Iran to visit his sons, leaving the patient feeling confused about their relationship status.

The patient noted that she had paid for eight therapy sessions but attended only five, for which Dr. Sahebi refunded the entire amount. She also submitted several text and voice messages from Dr. Sahebi, suggesting intimacy and care, including offers for a massage.

Dr. Sahebi, however, denied having a sexual relationship with the patient, asserting that they were only “close friends.” He argued that his voice messages and texts were mistranslated from Persian, explaining that phrases like “lick you all over” were metaphorical, reflecting parental affection rather than sexual intent. He added that descriptions of the patient’s “athletic body” were similarly non-sexual, aimed at appreciating her energy and health.

Moreover, Dr. Sahebi claimed erectile dysfunction prevented any sexual encounter, attributing the condition to a past accident. He expressed willingness to undergo medical or forensic examination to prove his condition.

The tribunal found Dr. Sahebi guilty of professional misconduct, both for the alleged sexual relationship and for organizing group therapy sessions at his home, some of which involved dancing, music, food, and alcohol. Two other patients corroborated this, describing the social nature of the gatherings.

The tribunal labeled Dr. Sahebi as “persistently untruthful” and not a credible witness, criticizing his lack of remorse or contrition. They determined that he engaged in the alleged conduct for his “own sexual gratification” and dismissed a mere reprimand as insufficient. Consequently, Dr. Sahebi’s registration was canceled, prohibiting him from providing any health service. He is also barred from applying for a review of the orders for two years and has been ordered to pay the HCCC’s costs.

Dr. Sahebi has been reached for comment regarding the tribunal’s decision.

Source: New York Post