Previously a licensed physician in Minnesota (#32069). Humenansky was under investigation by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for repeated boundary violations. She chose to forfeit her license to practice instead of cooperating with the investigation.
- Psychiatrist | Private Practice; St. Paul, MN
Dr. Diane Humenansky was a psychiatrist who held a private practice from 1966 to 1996. Her medical license was revoked by the state of Minnesota in 1996 following the receipt of 20 complaints against her alleging violations of the Medical Practice Act including multiple allegations of boundary violations. The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice found the following:
- “[Humenansky’s] professional practice included serious and repeated boundary violations and her professional communications were of a loose, inappropriately personal, disorganized and rambling nature.”
- Humenansky’s practice problems presented "serious threats to respectful, consistent, noninjurious patient care."
Initially, the licensing board asked that Dr. Humenansky undergo a mental and physical health evaluation to ensure she was capable of practicing with reasonable skill and safety to patients. The mental health evaluation brought to light the following findings:
- Axis II: 301.9 Personality Disorder NOS with dependent and avoidant features (PD)
- Axis IV: Current GAF: 55; Highest GAF Past Year: 55 (Global Assessment of Functioning)
Due to these findings the board suspended Dr. Humenansky’s license contingent on her agreement to work only in a supervised setting; receive ongoing education in “the areas of addictions, psychopharmacology and prescribing practices, medical malpractice/practice management, and ongoing psychotherapy supervision with particular emphasis on transference/countertransference issues”; undergo psychotherapy; and be restricted from practice involving those diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The disciplinary order reports that in a letter dated October 22nd, 1996, Humenansky informed the counsel to the Committee that she would rather “surrender and resign” her medical license than cooperate with the orders of the board. She also stated that she has been “harassed, harried, tormented and abused by the Minnesota Board for the better part of five years." Dr. Humenansky identified herself as the victim of harassment with regard to the proceedings surrounding the allegations, the case overall, and the surrender and resignation of her license to practice medicine.
Diane Humenansky became known for her bizarre beliefs and techniques, which eventually ended in lawsuits for malpractice and revocation of her license. The following cases were ruled in favor of the plaintiffs (former patients) in each of the following instances:
- Vynnette Hamanne won a $2.67 million award in a case of victimization where Humenansky was found guilty of implanting false memories of sexual and ritual abuse.
- Elizabeth Carlson was awarded $2.5 million upon a jury finding Humenansky guilty of implanting false memories of sexual and ritual abuse.
- Humenansky’s insurance company reached settlements out of court with four other former patients.
Dr. Humenansky used an assortment of unethical techniques with her patients. Some of these included the following books: The Courage to Heal; Michelle Remembers; The Three Faces of Eve; When Rabbit Howls; and Sybil. Dr. Humenansky led Carlson in guided imagery sessions in which she closed her eyes and visualized scenes of satanic ritual abuse. Humenansky prescribed huge doses of medicine – Restoril, Xanax, Valium, Desyrel – that fogged Carlson’s mind, taking her further from reality. Humenansky admitted to the use of sodium amytal (also known as “truth serum”), hypnosis, guided imagery, and other visualization exercises. For example, she would walk her patients through scenes in their minds, asking them to look for Satanic altars with babies, candles, daggers, and Satanic imagery on them. She would use this guided imagery practice to convince patients that they had taken part in cannibalism and Satanic ritual abuse, and once the patient became upset, she would ask them to chew up tranquilizers so they would react more quickly. These practices were used to convince patients that they had repressed memories which led them to not remember these occurrences without her assistance.
These events inevitably ended in the revocation of Humenansky’s medical license in 1996. While both Carlson and Hamanne’s settlements were public, the awards in the other four cases were not published as they were settled out of court. Carlson recounted that she was driven so mad by the practices used by Humenansky during five hospitalizations and long-term group therapy that she confined herself to her bedroom for over a year, did not shower, and was tormented by constant terror that the cult members with whom she once dealt would hurt her, her family, or her therapist. Carlson’s 16-year-old daughter even had to drop out of school to become her caretaker. Carlson was so distraught that she begged Humenansky to go forth with a lobotomy to alleviate the pain and terror. Once Carlson realized what was happening and weaned herself from her medications and saw a number for the False Memory Syndrome Foundation on television, it was only the beginning of the end for Humenansky. While Humenansky never took responsibility for the turmoil of any of her patients and played the victim in meetings before the Board, her former patients had a long road to recovery in front of them. Vynette Hamann stated, “I’m so relieved they finally took action against her. It will take a long time to get over the damage she caused me and my family. We’re nowhere near over it.”