Alan Colmes Radio Show: Wayne Besen vs. Richard Cohen

I listened to the Alan Colmes Radio Show tonight with a debate of sorts between Richard Cohen and Wayne Besen. During the call-in segment, Chad Thompson called in and said a cheery hello. Chad, you were the most reasonable voice on the show.

I think Richard mostly got the best of Wayne. Wayne needs to learn to let people talk. He sounds like he had way too much caffiene.

Wayne’s criticisms of Richard’s marriage were in very poor taste.

Richard made a point to emphasize that homosexuals are emotionally wounded and can change if they heal their wounds.

Wayne attacked Richard on several grounds. Of course, Richard is vulnerable here due to his expulsion from the ACA. Here is the expulsion letter and below are the sections of the code violated.

A.1.a: Primary Responsibility. The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.

A.1.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.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.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.

C.3.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.

C.3.f: Products and Training Advertisements. Counselors who develop products related to their profession or conduct workshops or training events ensure that the advertisements concerning these products or events are accurate and disclose adequate information for consumers to make informed choices.

Additional note: My friend David Blakeslee got on the show and reinforced the concept of people living in alignment with their beliefs and values. Chad and David were the highlights as far as I’m concerned.

www.truthwinsout.shh – TWO

Strange thing about Wayne Besen’s Truth Wins Out website; you can’t get to it without a password. I’ll bet he just forgot to send me mine.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The website is active now and Wayne’s favorite therapist is on the front page. I suspect many thoughtful gay folk will be uncomfortable with TWO (the loneliest number since the number ONE). I think the most offensive aspect of it is this point from his 10 point program for ridding the world of ex-gay ministries: “TWO will verify credible information and potentially create devastating consequences for the future of the ex-gay ministries. Indeed, a limited ad campaign inquiring about such leads coupled with a hotline would likely yield results. We have uncovered major scandals with no formal mechanism for doing so. Imagine the potential for success if we address this issue with a laser-like focus.”

An ex-gay hotline? I-800-Gotcha!

Therapy vs. therapeutic

Relevant to recent discussions of touch in therapy:

Boundaries in psychotherapy are crucial for it to be psychotherapy. Otherwise, it becomes one of number of other wish-fulfilling relationships we could have (friend, physical therapist, hair stylist, parent, bartender, etc.). Just because therapeutic (read: helpful) things happen in a relationship doesn’t make the relationship therapy. For therapy to have impact beyond what these other relationships can have, it needs to be something different from what these other relationships can be.

I have had a few clients who have requested touch or some kind of physical contact. They explain that they see me as a parent figure and that it would be healing to experience non-sexual touch. I gently explain that we need to talk about feelings rather than act on them. Expressing feelings is not an end in itself as catharsis but it is a means of bringing about awareness and self-control. Gaining control over urges and feelings is the reason that they are seeking my help so it would not help for me to move in an opposite direction. Acting on feelings runs counter to the objective of understanding them and finding strategies to contain them. This has been effective with more rapid results than in experiential therapy (e.g., the client on the CNN segment – 3 years and running.)