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Unregistered Psychologist Fined After Treating Patients On The Sunshine Coast

A Queensland woman who posed as a registered psychologist, has been fined $8,500 after treating patients for over seven months at a clinic on the Sunshine Coast.

Nicoline Densworth appeared in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to three counts of falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner.

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The 32-year-old was employed on a sub-contracting basis as a psychologist between June 2021 and January 2022. 

During the employment, she treated six clients, including vulnerable individuals such as children and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.

She also carried out 20 therapy sessions and prepared reports during this period.

The prosecutor, Alex Vanenn, representing the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), emphasised the vulnerability of the clients Densworth treated. 

“The purpose of the law is to protect the public and public confidence in the safety of people who are registered,” Mr Vanenn said.

A nurse uncovered Ms Densworth’s deception after conducting a check on the national register of health practitioners. 

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When questioned, Ms Densworth provided a fake registration number, which belonged to another health professional with the same last name.

The court heard that Densworth, a mother of two, had obtained two university degrees, including a bachelor of psychological sciences and a master’s in mental health science.

Her defence argued that she was “highly educated” and had worked as a therapist in the United Kingdom from 2016 to 2018, where registration was not required.

Barrister Anna Smith claimed that Densworth had acted in the best interests of the people she treated and that there was no evidence of any detrimental impact on her clients. 

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said that Densworth had taken a “shortcut” by not registering and fined her $8,500, with no conviction recorded. 

Additionally, she was ordered to pay $1,750 in legal costs for AHPRA.

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