From: Sheppard Gordon
THERAPIST SUED IN `CLOSE ENCOUNTERS'
07/12/93 THE SACRAMENTO BEE
Psychologist Richard Boylan's belief in extraterrestrial life is no secret.
In his published writings, the Sacramento clinical psychologist describes his
own alien abduction. He advertises in the Yellow Pages as a "close-encounter
specialist." In a letter to President Clinton, Boylan has called for the
appointment of "extraterrestrial emissaries."
And now, Boylan's belief in extraterrestrial life has become the focus of a
In lawsuits filed by two former female patients, Boylan is accused of using
extraterrestrial phenomena to diagnose and treat the women's emotional problems
so that he could get them to join him in "naked hot tub sessions."
Boylan is a licensed marriage and family counselor and current president of the
Sacramento Valley Psychologists Association. Through his attorney, he denies
Several members of the 150-member association, including President-elect Lisa
Farquhar, declined to comment about Boylan and his controversy.
In separate suits filed in Sacramento Superior Court over the past two months,
Diana Woycheshin and Dorothy Stone maintain that through Boylan's counseling,
they became dependent upon him as a "father-like figure."
At his home, Boylan and Woycheshin would sit nude in a hot tub, her suit
alleges. Stone's suit said Boylan encouraged her to go with him to Harbin Hot
Springs in the Napa Valley for nude exercises.
A third former patient, Karla Grant, filed suit three weeks ago, claiming that
although Boylan didn't discuss extraterrestrial close encounters, he fostered
the same dependent "dual-role" relationship as Woycheshin and Stone allege and
invited her to participate in nude hot tub sessions.
Boylan declined to discuss the suits last week, but he defended his research
with people who say they have had encounters with UFOs and extraterrestrial
"My research doesn't involve whether UFOs exist. That's already been well
established," he said. "There is much worth in making the scientific inquiry,
and thats what I and a number of other people are doing."
Regarding the suit, Boylan's lawyer, Richard Linkert, said his client's therapy
meets acceptable standards and that Boylan hasn't committed any sexual
"The whole subject of extraterrestrial beings is controversial and I think its
controversy is being used as a weapon against Dr. Boylan," he said. "This
portrait of victims led around by this psychological Svengali is simply not
Joseph C. George, the Sacramento lawyer who filed the suits, said Linkert is
"Who cares if it is politically sensitive? The harm here," George alleged, "is
that they feel they have been hurt, manipulated and exploited."
According to the suits, the women hired Boylan to help them with their
emotional problems. Woycheshin saw Boylan for about a year, and Stone saw him
for about two years.
In the suits, Woycheshin and Stone said Boylan told them that based on his
interpretations of their life experiences, they had separate close encounters
with extraterrestrial life.
They were then referred to support-group meetings at Boylan's home, which he
led. Known as "CE-4" meetings, people discussed close encounters,
extraterrestrial beings and related subjects.
Boylan further advised the women that their extraterrestrial experiences were
of interest to the "CIA and/or FBI," which would have an interest in keeping
them under surveillance, the suits said.
George, who is also a psychologist and specializes in mental health suits, said
that although Boylan did not physically touch the women, his therapy crossed
the line of propriety.
Shirley Glass, an expert on ethical standards in therapy and a former member of
the board of examiners that licenses psychologists in Maryland, said that as a
general rule, psychologists should not socialize with patients outside the
"There is something sterile in the office environment that the therapist has an
obligation to create and maintain," Glass said. But Mark Foster, a licensed
marriage and family therapist in Sacramento and former associate of Boylan's,
said there are also gray areas in the rules of conduct.
Boylan, Foster said, was known to provide therapy for free and to spend a lot
of time in research on people who believe they have had close encounters.
"Was he doing community service? Were these people going to him as research
subjects?" Foster asked. "A therapist needs to define the therapist-patient
role. If that isn't provided, then you have a problem."