20 JAN 12 @ 12:00AM BY PETER BODKIN
A FORMER Balgowlah hypnotherapist has been banned from practising for two years after intimately massaging female clients as part of an unauthorised “research project” into “anorgasmia”.
Joe Levonian, the owner and operator of Hypnotic Solutions, was recently barred from providing any hypnotic treatments or therapy to treat sexual dysfunction for two years after an investigation from the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.
The commission found the self-proclaimed “covert psychology” expert, who details qualifications in hypnosis and hypnotherapy from both Australia and the UK, had promoted successful treatment of anorgasmia, or the inability to reach sexual climax, despite carrying no experience in the field.
Early last year, two clients consented to join Mr Levonian’s “research”, which would involve sensual and sexual massage, but one refused him permission to touch her intimately.
The woman said the hypnotist persuaded her to allow him to touch her genitals, although he told the commission she had changed her consent after watching him work on the other client.
Mr Levonian removed his trousers during the massage and the woman said she saw him stripped down to his boxer shorts after feeling something silky touching her.
But the hypnotist told the commission he took off his trousers because the room was hot and he was wearing football shorts underneath.
He said he had hypnotised the women prior to the massage, but both testified they were not.
The commission also found Mr Levonian entered into an inappropriate sexual relationship with another client, who contacted the hypnotist about his “introductory quit-smoking courses”.
He admitted to having “crossed the professional boundary” in having sex with the client after four sessions, but did not report the incident to the Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association as promised because he “needed the money” from his practice.
The Hypnotic Solutions website has been taken down and Mr Levonian’s online, professional profile makes no reference to the business or any hypnotherapy practice.
His profile now lists his job as a “covert-psychology trainer” with Covert Psychology Australia, whose website said it would run training courses on how advertising and media use “coverty (sic) psychology strategies to influence our thinking and behaviour”.
In a statement to the Manly Daily yesterday, Mr Levonian’s solicitor said he had been suffering from “severe reactive depression as a side-effect of medication for treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia” at the time of the incidents.
“He is extremely remorseful for his temporary errors of judgment during the beginning of 2011,” the statement said.
“He has subsequently commenced medical treatment and ongoing psychological counselling.”