A Tennessee psychiatrist was accused of smacking her patients with whips and riding crops and also comparing them to mules, media reports said. Dr. Valerie Louise Augustus, who runs Christian Psychiatrist Services in Memphis, had hit at least 10 patients on the buttocks in 2015, according to investigation documents.

She also had the riding crop — a thin whip normally used to strike horses — “displayed in her office,” the Tennessean reported, adding she used the whip on a patient who had a history of physical abuse. According to reports, this patient was suffering from depression at the time and had suicidal thoughts in 2015.

Investigation documents added she “made contact with other mental health patients with a riding crop, whip or other object.”

Memphis health department said there was no evidence in any psychiatric literature to support the use of whipping patients for treatment.

The state investigation also found Augustus used the riding crops and whips as a “desire to exert dominance over her female patients and her inability to accept personal responsibility,” according to NBC-affiliated television station WMC. 

The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners suspended Augustus license for no less than 60 days, starting in June. To get her license back, Augustus will be required to take a two-day class on “medical ethics, boundaries and professionalism” and be cleared by the Vanderbilt Comprehensive Assessment Program. 

If Augustus is cleared, she will have to petition to have her license restored, then work under a three-year probationary term. 

The doctor was also fined $10,000 for her actions, $1,000 per patient she struck.

“I'm very shocked. I never would have expected it. I see her out working in her yard. She seems like a very peaceful person,” Augustus' neighbor Kaye Borgognoni reportedly said.

According to the website of Augustus' services, she takes a holistic approach to mental health.

“Dr. Augustus emphasizes a healthy diet and regular physical activity, while optionally integrating her spiritual beliefs and principles into each patient's healing process,” the website reads.