The state license of a Woodbridge psychiatrist was revoked by the Virginia Board of Medicine yesterday after she prayed "in tongues" with a patient.

The board said the psychiatrist, born-again Christian Alice T. Phillips, also violated professional standards by prescribing drugs for herself and by prescribing excessive drugs for patients.

The ruling, reversing a decision by a board committee, has been challenged in federal court in Alexandria on the grounds that the board acted, in part, because its members object to Phillips's religious beliefs.

Harmon D. Maxson, a non-voting hearing officer for the board's proceedings against Phillips, found that the psychiatrist's "extreme, aberrant (cockamamy) religious beliefs and practices evidence illness."

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said during a hearing yesterday that government agencies are forbidden to base licensing decisions on religious practices, adding that "someone ought to instruct this hearing officer on the First Amendment."

But Ellis also said most of the board's ruling dealt with Phillips's improper use of religion as a part of therapy. He ordered the board to reconvene within two weeks and attempt to seek a settlement out of court.

Victor M. Glasberg, Phillips's attorney, berated the board for the decision.

"It was astonishingly arrogant, outrageous, small-minded and inappropriate for the State of Virginia, through its agents and officers, to comment adversely upon a person's private religious beliefs," Glasberg said, adding that his client had repeatedly admitted her mistakes and taken steps to correct them.

Phillips, a George Washington University graduate in practice for eight years, could not be reached for comment.

Board members, citing the pending federal court case and the possibility of a state court challenge, would not comment on the ruling. Any decision rendered by the 16-member state board can be appealed in Circuit Court.

Phillips's unusual therapeutic practices first came to light before an informal three-member conference committee of the Board of Medicine in May 1989. During that hearing and subsequent meetings, Phillips acknowledged several professional improprieties, among them:

Anointing a patient's house, praying "in tongues" with the patient during psychotherapy sessions and sending the patient an article on religious cults.

Advising another patient that she was possessed by a "demon of fear."

Holding prayer sessions at a third patient's home and having the patient serve as a medium for communication with God.

Dispensing drugs to herself for treatment of a mood disorder that causes depression during certain times of the year.

Prescribing excessive drugs to patients.

In her opening statement at the first hearing, "Phillips expressly recognized that she had overstepped an appropriate line of demarcation between her private religious views and her professional work as a psychiatrist," according to court documents.

After a second hearing, last October, the committee proposed that Phillips be allowed to continue her practice, provided she agreed to certain conditions, according to Glasberg and board members.

The agreement required Phillips to work under supervision by a peer, undergo a psychiatric evaluation, discontinue religious practices during therapy, and stop prescribing drugs for herself, Glasberg said.

Saying she was abused verbally during the committee hearings, Phillips refused to sign the agreement and requested a hearing of the full board.

"This woman was sent from pillar to post in a kangaroo court by outrageous behavior on the part of the very people who were holding her up for censure," Glasberg said in an interview. He focused his criticism on F. Jay Pepper, an Alexandria psychiatrist who is a member of the Board of Medicine.

Pepper chose not to vote on the Phillips case after Glasberg complained about Pepper's "grossly inappropriate" questioning.

Pepper said Glasberg "behaved in a confrontational and disagreeable manner {during the hearings} and later wrote letters objecting to whatever he thought I had said wrong. I did not feel I had asked anything wrong or in the wrong way."

When the full board met last weekend, it was presented with more evidence against Phillips than the committee had heard, according to Howard M. Casway, the assistant attorney general representing the medical board.

The board voted to overrule its committee and revoke Phillips's license. That revokation took effect when she was notified yesterday.

"They took their chances with a new hearing and the dice didn't fall where they liked it," Casway said.