Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Richard Cohen Profiled in The Post

We'd heard a rumor that the Washington Post was planning to do a story on Richard Cohen, the President of PFOX. PFOX was one of the two groups that sued the Montgomery County School District this spring, and Cohen himself recently addressed the school board in public comments.

OK, he's articulate and engaging, The Post says, and then that's out of the way.
Cohen has a master's degree in counseling psychology from a satellite campus of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He conducts individual therapy at a cost of $150 for an hour-long session, as well as telephone classes for "strugglers" and their relatives. He also runs seminars and workshops, at which he sells his books, two of them self-published and one for children who think they might be gay, as well as tapes and CDs. All of his work, he said, is conducted under the auspices of the International Healing Foundation, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization he founded in 1990 to treat what he calls unwanted SSA -- same-sex attraction.

Note that "SSA" or "same-sex attraction" is not a medical term or one used by psychiatrists or clinical psychologists. It's one of those code-words used by people who want to say that homosexuality is a disease -- they like to talk about Same Sex Attraction Disorder, or "SSAD." Isn't that clever?
He is not licensed as a therapist, he explained, because he "didn't want to jump through the hoops and deal with the heterophobia and anti-ex-gay attitudes." He circumvents the licensing requirement by asking for donations to his foundation. "I am not doing therapy per se," he said. "I'm coaching."

In 2002, Cohen was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association (ACA) for multiple ethical violations.

Permanent expulsion is a rarely used sanction, according to David Kaplan, chief professional officer of the Alexandria-based organization. Kaplan said Cohen was found to have violated six sections of the ACA's ethics code, which bars members from actions that "seek to meet their personal needs at the expense of clients," those that exploit "the trust and dependency of clients," and for soliciting testimonials or promoting products in a deceptive manner.

Cohen was found in violation of the following ACA code sections A.1.a; A.1.b; A.5.a; A.6.a; C.3.b, C.3.f. You can read what these are in The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics.

Here's what he told The Post:
Cohen said his expulsion was based on a complaint by a client who told the ACA he felt forced to attend Cohen's classes, buy his books, volunteer to work for his foundation and talk about his personal experiences.

Cohen said he did not contest his expulsion. "Why would I want to be in a totally gay-affirming club?" he asked during a nearly three-hour interview in his office.

Mmm hmmm, yes, thank you.

Look, I learned many years ago -- never believe anyone's explanation for why they went to jail. Or got fired ... or divorced ... or expelled from a professional organization ...

The Post goes on:
His therapy, much of which is derived from his own experience, is outlined in the 273-page book he wrote in 2000 entitled "Coming Out Straight," the foreword of which is written by radio personality Laura Schlessinger, who has called gays "deviants" and "biological errors."

(HERE is an interesting article about Laura Schlessinger's nude photos, which are all over the web.)

Finally, The Post goes into a little bit of description of how Cohen treats homosexuals who want to become straight.
As part of his treatment, Cohen advises patients to pray, exercise regularly and undergo "behavioral and gesture reeducation" in which they practice acting more conventionally masculine. He also endorses a technique using "bioenergetics" in which a client releases pent-up anger by smashing a tennis racket against a mound of pillows while repeatedly screaming "Dad" -- or the name of the person about whom the client has unresolved feelings. This, Cohen said, is how he recovered his repressed memories of sexual abuse.

Touch plays a central role in his therapy, said Cohen, who does not treat women. He recommends that clients develop intimate friendships with heterosexual mentors who will cuddle them in a parental, nonerotic way, making up for the love they did not get from their fathers.

"You've got to feel it to heal it," he said.


<sarcasm>It is really hard to see how he was ever accused of any ethics violations.</sarcasm>

We thank The Post for this. Richard Cohen is trying to insert himself into the controversy over the Montgomery County sex education curriculum. I think -- I hope! -- that readers of this article will understand that this weirdness is not what we need here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quack, Quack, Quack.....

No other way to describe Cohen.

August 16, 2005 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wayne Besen

If it Quack's Like a Duck
Disgraced “reparative therapist” Richard Cohen, who is President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), wrote a column last week that grossly misled Americans on the mission of his sinister group. For those who don’t know, PFOX is a contemptible national organization based in northern Virginia that teaches parents how not to accept their gay children. While there are simply too many mistruths of Mr. Cohen’s to counter, I would like to set the record straight on a few key points:

Myth: Cohen said, “PFOX is not in the changing business”.

Fact: A PFOX billboard in Virginia with the huge headline “Ex-Gays Prove that Change Is Possible” betrays Cohen’s farcical statement. The billboard can be seen at www.PFOX.org.

Myth: Cohen said, “As a professional psychotherapist, I have helped hundreds change from gay to straight.”

Fact: Cohen conveniently fails to mention that he was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association in 2002. Manager of Ethics & Professional Standards Larry Freeman, told the Washington Blade that, “If a person is sanctioned by the ACA code of ethics, it indicates that there’s been a practice of malpractice.”

It is interesting that if one reads his book, Coming Out Straight, not one of the people featured has actually gone from gay to straight. Cohen steadfastly refuses to keep real statistics so the public can have a true idea of his failure rate.

Cohen also failed to inform Blade readers that he once belonged to the Wesleyan Christian Community Church, a cult that was infamous for practicing nude therapy inside of churches. Today, Cohen practices the very controversial method of “touch therapy” that has led to many abuses across the nation.

Myth: Cohen says, “I lived a gay life for many years. Today I am happily married with three kids.”

Fact: Based on his own life story, Cohen’s testimony of change is highly suspect. For more than two years, Cohen left his wife and cruised New York City looking for men.

“It was a very bizarre time. I was out running around New York City with my boyfriend, and she was at home alone taking care of our son, knowing her husband was out with a man,” Cohen wrote in his book.
Cohen readily admits that he once lied to the public and even his own family. So, why should we believe him today?

Myth: Cohen said, “We are in the loving business.”

Fact: If one looks at the history of PFOX, it is very difficult to find even a hint of love. Roy Cohn’s former houseboy, Anthony Falzarano, who once called Matthew Shepard “a predator to heterosexual men”, founded the group in the late 1990’s. Falzarano also told CBS that Satan “uses homosexuals as pawns and then he kills them.” With this type of rhetoric, it is no surprise that the political right wing organization, The

Family Research Council, helped launch the group with an $80,000 grant.
Richard Cohen, Falzarano’s replacement, also comes up a little short in the love department. While he claimed in his column that ex-gay therapy is a “civil right”, Cohen has regularly lobbied legislators in Annapolis to ensure that people in Maryland can be fired from their jobs just because they are gay or lesbian.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the controversial talk radio host who once referred to gay people as “biological errors”, wrote the forward for Cohen’s book. Cohen also says that gay people can’t be happy and believes that they are mentally ill, coining a phony diagnosis with a derisive acronym, Same-Sex Attachment Disorder (SSAD).

Finally, Cohen admits that he was once fired from the Red Cross and “their reason was that I was homophobic and spreading hate.” There are a lot of words to describe Cohen and PFOX’s work, but love is not one of them.

Myth: Cohen said, “We are in the education business.”

Fact: Cohen and PFOX exist to spread outdated myths about gay life. Cohen’s favorite media sound bite is, “born gay, no way”, although he offers no credible evidence to back up his assertion. Despite the incontrovertible fact that countless gay men are close to their fathers, in an interview I did with Cohen for my book Anything But Straight, he said:

“I don’t believe that you or anyone else can have same sex attractions and have successfully attached to both Mom and Dad. It’s an impossibility and I do not believe it can be true.”

PFOX offers false hope and traffics in broken families. It should do its members a favor by disbanding and sending these misguided people to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) where they can learn the true meaning of love and acceptance.

August 16, 2005 10:33 AM  
Blogger Kay2898 said...

From Washington Post Article:

Touch plays a central role in his therapy, said Cohen, who does not treat women. He recommends that clients develop intimate friendships with heterosexual mentors who will cuddle them in a parental, nonerotic way, making up for the love they did not get from their fathers.

Now the question I have does Cohen hug his clients to help them develop intimate friendships with heterosexual mentors? Does he consider himself a mentor too since he considers himself a heterosexual now?

Cohen quote from article: "I'm a heterosexual and I want to give somebody hope."

Wacky....Quacky.....and unbelievable.

Kay R

August 16, 2005 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. Change is possible and there are a growing number of us who are receiving help to change.

Many people try many things and don't succeed. Some of us do succeed.

I am no longer gay and how can you convince me otherwise? I had very strong feelings that are gone. I thought change may be for some people but not for me. I'm shocked at how much progress I've made in only 2 years. I feel like a new man. I no longer have attraction to males.

It is only hard believe because the gay rights movement WANTS to make it sound stupid. Propagand is powerful if used in the right way. Hitler is a renown propagandist. They just want their rights and will fight tooth and nail to get it. But denying our existences is wrong. Who are they to say WHO we ARE!

October 08, 2005 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I'm the same person as the previous comment)

Does man know everything? Can they cure AIDS? There are many things we DO NOT KNOW. How can we be SO SURE that change is IMPOSSIBLE!

By asking people who haven't changed? Have they really studied US? Or asked US? NO! Robert Spitzer is the only one brave enough to examine US ALONE! They ask instead to speak with those who say they CAN'T change. Or those who say they DON"T WANT to change.

Why not ask us! Get a group of us together. You don't like Robert Spitzer. WE DON"T CARE! Get someone ELSE to ASK US! We are of age can't be speak for ourselves!

Or are your personal "religious"/ "intensely bias" views too proud to ask?

Here i am. I'm 27. I'm an ex-gay!

October 08, 2005 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is denying that you have become straight. If you have converted, that's fine, no one is questioning you. The point that most of tese posters are making is that people shouldn't be compelled or coherced into "conversion therapy". They shouldn't be made to feel that they're diseased or have a mental illness due to a broken home that's causing them to be gay. Young people who are as sure that they're gay as you are that you're now straight, should not be forced into ex-gay "therapy" on the premise that they need fixing to be happy. If someone is gay and unhappy because they want to be happy it should be their choice to either seek therapy to help them be straight and happy, or seek therapy to help them feel good again about who they are. If they're gay and happy (despite the treatment they get from some non-accepting members of society) they should be LEFT ALONE to be. That's all any of us really want, gay, straight, and everything in between.

March 20, 2007 12:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home