The state board that regulates therapists is investigating a Towson psychologist who has been accused by a patient of convincing her that her weight problems and depression were rooted in repressed memories of childhood rapes that she later realized never occurred.
Regina Moran, 48, of Rosedale alleges in Baltimore County Circuit Court papers that Steven L. Shearer convinced her that she had been sexually abused by her father, his friends and two of her brothers and that her memories - "uncovered" in therapy - turned out to be false.
A spokesman for the state Board of Examiners of Psychologists confirmed this week that it is investigating Shearer's treatment of Moran.
"It's in the very preliminary stage," Joe F. Compton, the board's executive director, said Wednesday.
Shearer and his lawyer, James Chason, declined to comment.
Compton would not discuss details of the investigation but said the board can revoke or suspend a therapist's license or issue a formal reprimand if it turns up evidence of wrongdoing.
The board handles about 40 complaints a year and revokes or suspends about three licenses each year, he said.
Moran's lawyer, Thomas Pavlinic, said a board investigator plans to interview his client.
Moran filed a $5 million negligence suit in county Circuit Court May 1, alleging that Shearer's guided image therapy and hypnosis isolated her from her family, gave her nightmares and aggravated her psychological problems.
Moran alleged in the suit that while being treated by Shearer from 1989 to 1997, she was hospitalized for about 20 months and had to give up a job with Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co.
Only after seeking help from another therapist did Moran realize that Shearer had misled her into creating "repressed memories" that didn't exist, the suit said.