Sydney Morning Herald
Psychiatrist Alex Sharah, who compared lesbians to paedophiles, disqualified
By Stephanie Gardiner
September 23, 2015
Psychiatrist Alexander Anthony Sharah, 80, has been disqualified from registering as a medical practitioner after inappropriate treatment of patients, having also compared lesbians to paedophiles, because both “don’t know that they are doing something wrong so we still have to love them”.
In a decision handed down on Wednesday, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal rebuked Mr Sharah – a former candidate for the Christian Democratic Party – for encouraging his patients to explore religion to ease their mental health problems.
The decision said: “More than one of the patients referred to the displays of religious objects and material in his waiting room and consulting room, something which, in our view, is clearly inappropriate.
“[Mr Sharah] was indifferent, we consider, to whether patients might find unwelcome and confronting references to the power of prayer, religious beliefs and gestures that had religious symbolism, such as clasping hands and presenting crucifixes.”
Mr Sharah is also a “figurehead” in the Men’s Justice Movement, which believes the Family Court favours women over men after marriage breakdowns.
One woman, known as Patient D, sought treatment from Mr Sharah for post-traumatic stress disorder, after her son was stillborn during an induced birth at 22 weeks, due to the baby’s serious heart condition.
During two consultations in July 2013, Mr Sharah said her son was “God’s will” and that “God can help you”.
Patient D’s witness statement said: “After the first consultation, I felt extremely uncomfortable. He had continuously brought up religion. I am not religious in any way, but I was too vulnerable and absolutely petrified of the terrible place I was in emotionally to say anything.
“He also kept using words like ‘abortion’ and ‘termination’, which absolutely mortified me, as that was not what we did to our baby boy.”
Another woman, known as Patient C, went to Mr Sharah for treatment of bipolar disorder.
During a consultation in December 2012, he used holy water to draw the sign of the cross on her forehead, despite knowing she was a Muslim, and prayed while standing over her.
“Clearly the conduct … was inappropriate and was magnified in its inappropriateness, when the patient was an adherent of a non-Christian faith.”
The commission found complaints of professional misconduct against Mr Sharah proven, and also made findings of impairment and incompetence.
Mr Sharah cannot reapply for registration for at least two years.