Wednesday, January 26, 2005

P-FOX President Expelled for Life from the American Counseling Association

Mike Airhart at pointed out this story on Wayne Besen's website, and we double checked it with the American Counseling Association, who confirmed its accuracy. It's not exactly recent news, but the fact had not been publicized by this professional organization.

It turns out that Richard Cohen, president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), has been expelled for life from the American Counseling Association, on the basis of numerous ethics violations having to do with attempts at "reparative therapy" intended to change the sexual orientation of gay people.
According to the ACA's letter: "Mr. Cohen was found in violation of the following code sections A.1.a; A.1.b; A.5.a; A.6.a; C.3.b, C.3.f, and has not elected to appeal the decision taken by the ACA Ethics Committee within allotted timelines." (Please see below for full explanation of violations)

The letter referred to Cohen's violations which included inappropriate behavior such as fostering dependent counseling relationships, not promoting the welfare of clients, engaging in actions that sought to meet his personal needs at the expense of clients, exploiting the trust and dependency of clients, unethically soliciting testimonials from clients and promoting products to clients in a manner that is deceptive.

Richard Cohen is the president of P-FOX, a group that recently placed an ex-gay billboard in Virginia ( and sponsored a controversial ad campaign in Washington DC's subway system. His website is and he is a conference instructor for the National Association for the Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH). Cohen is also the author of "Coming Out Straight", a book in which Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote the forward.

"With intellect and care, he [Cohen] offers invaluable insight into the reason for same-sex attractions and, for those willing to brave it, he illuminates a challenging journey from isolation," wrote Dr. Laura {Schlessinger] in Cohen's book.

Cohen has also been prominently features on Larry King Live, The Ricki Lake Show, The Salley Jessy Raphael Show and 20/20. Reparative therapy is rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in America.

Besen's web site lists the text of the ethics rules vioilated by Cohen.

When contacted the ACA to confirm the story, we received the following letter:

Your inquiry regarding Richard Cohen of Bowie, MD and his status
with the American Counseling Association was forwarded to me for
a response. The ACA Ethics Committee at their most recent
adjudication meeting, 3/23/02, discussed in detail the ethics
complaint filed against Mr. Richard Cohen. The decision of the
committee was to accept all charges (A.1.a; A.1.b.; A.5.a.; A.6.a;
C.3.b; and C.3.f) against him and to render the sanction of ACA
Membership expulsion.

This case was officially closed 5/28/02, 30 business days after
the committee sanction, Mr. Richard Cohen elected not to appeal.


Larry T. Freeman, MA, LPC
Manager, Ethics and Professional Standards
Staff Liaison
American Counseling Association

Well, that's to the point.

PFOX, you might recall, put the big billboard up outside the MCPS district office. They had a member on the citizen's advisory committee that complained and continues to complain loudly about the "unfairness" of the new curriculum because it doesn't include information about ex-gays.

The recall group is tightly connected to PFOX, which is in turn a spin-off of James Dobson's evangelical organization. Though PFOX's membership list is not publicized, we note that psychologist Warren Throckmorton, who has written a long criticism of the MCPS curriculum, seems to be closely aligned with PFOX, speaking at many of their functions, and joining them in many of their presentations.

The treatment of gay people as if they were sick is unethical, according to the principles of most of the leading psychotherapy and counseling organizations. Further, most of the organizations have issued some sort of statement to the effect that sexual orientation is not something that can typically be changed. Yet a certain point of view requires it. In order to blame homosexuals for the persecution they receive, it is necessary to argue that they have chosen to be the way they are. No scientific paradigm accepts that. And here we learn of one organization expelling a member who claims otherwise.


Blogger War Diaries said...

I wonder if Fox News is about to have an article on this...since they had one about that offensive billboard.

January 26, 2005 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What proof do you have of CRC's ties to PFOX or Dobson? Or are you just trying to smear them like you did with the evolution nonsense?


January 26, 2005 5:00 PM  
Blogger JimK said...


Who are the members of the "CRC"? Do you know?


January 26, 2005 9:41 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

As far as links with PFOX and Dobson... the recall group has at least one member from PFOX. Also, I have been told they are developing some kind of lawyer-sharing arrangement with them, but I don't have all the details about that. Maybe will find out more soon. (You know how it is, sometimes ya gotta prime the pump.) And since PFOX is a branch of Dobson's empire, there's nothing to drawing that connection. Dobson's money is behind this.


January 26, 2005 10:24 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

If you follow the links on the CRC page, many of them lead to articles and organizations such as PFOX and Focus and those supported by them. I have asked the Washington Times to look into the review, funding and "publication" of Dr. Throckmorton's article on the MCPS curriculum since the Times published an article stating his critique was published. The editor did call me so we will see if the Times follows up or decides not to provide the facts in this case. Journalistic standards, if not actual news ethics, would require them to publish a correction to the statement that the critique was published. My point was that actual publication gives a document more weight in the public's eye than something that you write and put on your own website or copy at Kinko's and pass out at a meeting. Otherwise, I could say I have published a number of articles and critiques- and have presented them before large groups of scientists(this last part is absolutely true- the publication was copying or having my presentations put on-line)

January 28, 2005 8:16 AM  

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