Update: The American Counseling Association confirms that Richard Cohen’s expulsion occurred in May 2002.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2005
ANTI-GAY P-FOX PRESIDENT RICHARD COHEN EXPELLED FOR LIFE FROM THE AMERICAN COUNSELING ASSOCIATION
Revealing, Never-Before Seen Document Is a Devastating Blow For Outdated Pseudo-Science That Tries To Turn Gay People Straight, Says Besen
NEW YORK – Author Wayne Besen today released an explosive, never-before seen letter he uncovered from the American Counseling Association that "permanently expelled" reparative therapist Richard Cohen in 2003 for serious ethics violations. The ACA document can be viewed at www.rawprint.com/besen/012504_aca_letter.php.
As the outspoken president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s ex-gay advisor, Cohen’s expulsion casts a dark shadow over the disreputable practice of trying to change sexual orientation.
"The Right wing should be ashamed for promoting the work of a therapist who has been officially rebuked for egregious ethical lapses," said Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. "That Cohen is the best the far right can find in support of their position that gay people can change underscores the quack-like pseudo-science that they rely on. It is time they end the charade and admit that reparative therapy is harmful and ineffective."
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.
"It is no surprise that Richard Cohen violated the ACA ethics because reparative therapy itself lacks integrity and attempts to meet their agenda’s need, not the needs of client’s," said Joe Kort, psychotherapist and author of 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives. "Of particular note is that Cohen’s violations are self-serving as he is accused of violating standard ethics of protecting his client from dual relationships, marketing purposes, and testimonials."
Richard Cohen is the president of P-FOX, a group that recently placed an ex-gay billboard in Virginia (www.pfox.org) and sponsored a controversial ad campaign in Washington DC’s subway system. His website is www.gaytostraight.org 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 in Cohen’s book.
Cohen has also been prominently featured on Larry King Live, The Ricki Lake Show, The Salley Jessy Raphael Show and 20/20. The sound bite he often uses on these shows is, "Born gay? No Way!" Reparative therapy is rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in America.
The Rules Violated By Cohen
Section A: The Counseling Relationship
A.1. Client Welfare
a. Primary Responsibility. The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.
b. Positive Growth and Development. Counselors encourage client growth and development in ways that foster the clients’ interest and welfare; counselors avoid fostering dependent counseling relationships.
A.5. Personal Needs and Values
a. Personal Needs. In the counseling relationship, counselors are aware of the intimacy and responsibilities inherent in the counseling relationship, maintain respect for clients, and avoid actions that seek to meet their personal needs at the expense of clients.
A.6. Dual Relationships
a. Avoid When Possible. Counselors are aware of their influential positions with respect to clients, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients. Counselors make every effort to avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. (Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, or close personal relationships with clients.) When a dual relationship cannot be avoided, counselors take appropriate professional precautions such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs. (See F.1.b.)
C.3. Advertising and Soliciting Clients
b. Testimonials. Counselors who use testimonials do not solicit them from clients or other persons who, because of their particular circumstances, may be vulnerable to undue influence.
f. Promoting to Those Served. Counselors do not use counseling, teaching, training, or supervisory relationships to promote their products or training events in a manner that is deceptive or would exert undue influence on individuals who may be vulnerable. Counselors may adopt textbooks they have authored for instruction purposes.