Richard Cohen's Professional Ethics Violations
A Dirty Little Secret of the 'Ex-Gay' Industry
But there's something Richard, the 'ex-gay' industry, and the right wing talk radio circuit doesn't want you to know. They kept this dirty little secret for nearly three years. But thanks to Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight, the secret was exposed in January of 2005 after nearly three years of deliberate deception by Cohen and the 'ex-gay' industry at large. According to the ACA, Cohen's violated "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." Wayne Besen examined the ACA Code of Ethics and offers the following explanation of the items Cohen violated.
Section A: The Counseling Relationship
A.1. Client Welfare
Primary Responsibility. The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.
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
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
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
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.
"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 clients," 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," Kort added.
My questions for the so-called 'ex-gay' industry are simple. Why are so many unethical 'therapists' involved with the industry? And why does the industry protect them?
Copyright February 6, 2005, by MGGM. All rights reserved, except that free distribution via any medium is permitted as long as author's credit is given and no profit is involved.