Confirmed: Exodus Met with Richard Cohen, Original Statement Pulled
While investigating the removal of policy statements admonishing Richard Cohen and holding/touch therapy on the Exodus website, we received a reply from the assistant director of Cohen’s International Healing Foundation (IHF). She describes what seems like a reconciliation of sorts between the two groups:
Richard explained more about his work and his position and methods to Exodus and they all made peace.
Exodus and IHF have either ignored or denied our request for any further comment for the record. However, we have been able to confirm through two credible sources (who wish to remain anonymous), one from inside Exodus, that the meeting did take place. Cohen came to Exodus for a discussion with the leaders. We have also confirmed through one of these same sources that Exodus agreed to pull their statement about Cohen from their website as a result of the discussion.
Exodus placed the following statement on their website after Cohen appeared in an embarrassing blitz of media throughout 2006:
Exodus International does not endorse the work of Richard Cohen or the methods utilized in his practice. Some of the techniques Mr. Cohen employs could be detrimental to an individual’s understanding of healthy relational boundaries and disruptive to the psychological and emotional development of men and women seeking clinical counsel and aid.
We asked Exodus President Alan Chambers for an official response as to why this statement was removed, but he refused to go on record. Today, the following new statement appeared on the Exodus website:
Exodus International is opposed to the therapeutic practice commonly referred to as “holding/touch therapy” as a healing exercise for those with same-sex attraction distress. Accordingly, Exodus does not endorse the work of Richard Cohen, the methods utilized by the International Healing Foundation or any other individual or organization that is known to use that method.
This new statement is much less specific concerning Cohen — a combination of the original statement against holding therapy with Cohen as a mere afterthought. It says that Exodus is against holding therapy, and since Cohen uses that, Exodus doesn’t endorse him. What if Cohen were to drop the holding therapy? Would he then be acceptable to Exodus?
Last year, Cohen claimed to have “retired from counseling to focus on public speaking and training other professionals.” So how does this affect Exodus’ endorsement of him? If indeed he no longer gives therapeutic cuddles to his own clients, would that be enough for Exodus to drop their objection entirely?
Perhaps this really is politics and public relations after all. Cohen has stayed off the news for a while, and even managed to get a respected, mainstream Christian publisher for his book, Gay Children, Straight Parents: A Plan For Family Healing. A number of Exodus ministries and speakers admire and even recommend him. Which is easier, offending all those members or making nice with Cohen? Certainly there could be other issues involved, but so far Exodus is keeping that to themselves. Where is the transparency in ministry?
So what are we to make of these developments? Why meet with Cohen at all?
Ex-gay groups are losing allies and have so few allies anywhere that they all gotta stick together and watch out for one another. And if they end up being opposed to one another and split 5 ways, well, you know the saying abut a house divided…
At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist: There may be a risk to Exodus if Cohen were so marginalized that he could no longer earn a living in the ex-gay industry. The fear/risk may be that Cohen might expose the whole ex-gay fraud since he would be able to earn some money via a book and public speaking.
I’ve often wondered what the career path would be for someone after spending years working as a professional ex-gay. How would that look on a resume. They might want to think about that. I think we all know that the employment and free-lance opportunities for pro ex-gays will eventually disappear. Then what? I suppose a tell-all expose’ would be a place to start. The first person to release a book could make some serious bucks. I hope someone is listening.
That’s a rather interesting theory Richard.
Exodus sure knows how to lower its credibility! Richard Cohen, in case anyone has forgotton, is one of the very rare cases of PERMANENT EXPULSION from the largest and one of the most prominent counseling organizations in the USA, the American Counseling Association, for many ethical violations back in 2002. Cohen dismisses ACA’s expulsion on his web site stating ” Its (ACA) expulsion of Cohen was a blatant act of political correctness and bigotry. It was based on flimsy complaints by a single client. The ACA stated that Cohen’s most egregious offense was that he recommended that his client read his book and attend his healing seminars—a common practice among many professional therapists and counselors. Cohen chose not to appeal their complaints, as he saw no professional benefit to remaining a member of this group.” Evidently there was more than one person complaining. The sections of the Ethical Code stated for the Expulsion were a lot more serious than Cohen’s suggestion of flimsy complaints about recommending that a client read his book and attend seminars.
Cohen also dismisses ACA as having no legal authority. They may not have any direct legal authority, but their expulsion means that all the licensing boards in the United States are notified of this expulsion and maintain a record of this and that if Cohen ever did apply for a license it would very likely be denied.
Now, we have Hilde Wieman, an employee of Cohen’s International Healing Foundation (Arthur Goldberg, Esq is a board member and also a board member of NARTH and JONAH), who insisted earlier this year for several months that she used to be a member of well known cult Unification Church (Moonies or whatever that call it now) for several years and was not presently, only to recant, saying in fact that she was a member for several years during the time in question. So, she lied about it. Richard Cohen, no stranger to the Unificiation Church and a Moonie himself from time to time, virgorously defended her saying that she could not possibly be a Moonie. Now Hilde has recanted, not a word from Cohen. Cohen also says that he raised his children in a Christian Bible Church in Bowie, MD, but their names, Jessica and Jarish Cohen appear on several prominent Moon sights as being members of the UC, so his veracity is highly suspect to say the least. Cohen, his children and Wieman have the right, of course to be a member of any organization they want, but, lying about it publicly brings into serious question not only their credibility, but the integrity and credibility of the International Healing Foundation and any other organizations that they are affiliated with.
And then we have Cohen’s internet craziness, unprofessional to the extreme with his pillow pounding accompanied by his screaming “mom, mom, why did you, blah, blah, blah,” cuddling of clients in the name of therapy yet, and then there is his licking therapy (yes, that’s right with the tongue), which he has not yet demonstrated on video. And now Exodus and NARTH wants to bring Cohen back into the fold and make nice with all of this garbage? Why would any professional organization want to have anything to do with him? They have nothing to gain and alot to lose. Both of these organizations have quite a number of highly educated and well credentialed doctorates, PHD’s, etc., so what happened to their good sense of judgement? Yes, where are all of these people and what do they really think about the leadership of their orgnaization? They already have serious credibility problems, some of it because of Cohen. So, the latest script of this train wreck seems to be that both Chambers and Hallman have now been mesmerized by Cohen (this is second third time around for Chambers and Exodus) and have lost their good sense and judgement and are just making nice. However, they would be better served with relying on good old boring science and common sense, rather than fantasy, fiction and fraud, which is what Cohen and Wieman represent and which will be a road to the destruction and demise of NARTH and EXODUS and any other organization, if they continue on this path.
Thanks for the roundup of events, however I’m almost certain I saw this in it’s entirety as either a blog post or a comment somewhere recently. We try to avoid wholesale cut-and-paste material from elsewhere, but since I couldn’t remember where I saw it I’ve left this up for now. You are welcome to participate, but it would be nice to have your own comments in response to the post or thread.
If you don’t mind, please let me know where this was originally posted if I am correct. If this is your work, even if from another site, I’ll leave it up this time. But if it’s someone else’s and you just agreed with what it said so much that you wanted to leave it here, I need to take it down as we can’t display an unauthorized copy of another’s work in it’s entirety. Thanks for dropping by, and participating.
I understand your concern. I may have commented on similar stuff on this or another blog, don’t recall right now when or where. With the exception of Hilde Wieman’s recent quotes regarding Exodus, most, if not all, that I wrote about has been ongoing for sometime. Everything I wrote is mine, I did not copy from someone else. Others may have had similar thoughts and wrote about them in this and other blogs. There are others, I’m sure, who are knowledgeable about Richard Cohen and alot of the related stuff and may have similar views.
I appreciate what you are doing in making these people accountable for what they do and say. When they are being evasive and inconsistent, they should and must be called into question to clarify and explain and then, after reading all of the respones, we can decide what is and isn’t legitimate and the truth.