Christian Post Provides Free Advertising for International Healing Foundation

I missed this a couple of days ago. The Christian Post provided free advertising for the following activity masquerading as therapy:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJXWFZz0Qjo[/youtube]
This video cannot be shown enough. This is what the Christian Post is advertising with their puff piece on the International Healing Foundation. Doyle says being attracted to the same sex is a matter of poor parenting. Richard Cohen, the founder of IHF, says the therapist should establish a parent child relationship as a means of replacing what clients didn’t get from their parents. This is a dangerous and false premise. Some gays and some straights didn’t get what they needed from their parents, but this doesn’t make them gay or straight. Putting the therapist in the role of a nurturing parent is reflects a wrong diagnosis and potentially sets up an unhealthy dependence on the therapist. Furthermore, a robust line of research suggests that the pillow beating catharsis treatment is fundamentally unhelpful.
Perhaps these points and more are why no graduate training programs offer these approaches for the purposes designated by IHF. I know of no graduate training programs housed in Christian colleges which teach these techniques. Even at Liberty, Doyle was not allowed to consider Cohen a clinical supervisor, nor was he allowed to count his experience there toward his school internship.
Chris Doyle says the IHF does therapy. However, I even wonder about that. According to their 2012 990 form, they took in very little money in program services fees with the lion’s share of their income coming from donations.
I hope the reporter will consider doing a counter point article in response.
 
 

International Healing Foundation Staffer Conducts Workshops For Unification Church

In 2007, parenting specialist at the International Healing Foundation Hilde Wiemann first denied, then admitted being involved in the Unification Church (Church of Sun Myung Moon who taught that he was the Messiah). Due to her involvement, the International Healing Foundation was briefly placed back on Steve Hassan’s list of Unificationist front groups.  IHF was originally placed on Hassan’s list because Cohen was once a member of the UC. IHF was removed when Wiemann recanted and declared the UC to be a “satanic, heretical cult.” IHF founder Richard Cohen initially denied Wiemann was a part of the church but later acknowledged her statement.
Apparently, Ms. Wiemann has changed her mind again. She recently presented a series of sessions along with long time UC member Pam Stein on behalf of the Women’s Federation for World Peace. The WFWP is a Unification Church entity headed by Angelika Selle. Selle pastors a UC church in MD and was appointed to her post as president of the American WFWP by none other than True Mother, Sun Myung Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Han Moon.
Ms. Wiemann has also changed her name. She now goes by Hilde Reinold in her non-IHF pursuits. Any doubt about her identity is dispelled by her Hilltop Retreat bio:

Hildegard Reinold grew up in a small town in Austria and came to the United States in 1982, where she married her husband, John Wiemann. John works hand-in-hand with Hilde as a massage therapist and Shiatsu specialist. John and Hilde have two sons and one daughter in their 20s, all happily married. Being a mother was and is the most important and fulfilling part of Hilde’s life.

IHF continues to partner with Reinold/Wiemann however, often using her Hilltop Retreat Center for their workshops. She is listed as Hilde Wiemann in the IHF literature but Hilde Reinold on the brochure promoting the UC workshop (note arrows pointing out the audience and the presenters):

I addition to the tele-course, Rienold/Wiemann led a session for the WFWP in October as a part of their of their annual National Assembly. During this event, Reinold/Wiemann presented a break out session on leadership and was quoted extensively in the article.
Reinold/Wiemann is not a peripheral player at IHF. In IHF’s Winter, 2012 newsletter, Cohen lauded Wiemann as a “true sister” and said she is “intrinsically laced into the fabric of IHF.”
In October 2012, one of Moon’s sons, Hyung Jin Moon identified Richard Cohen as being in the UC movement and as the “foremost expert” on homosexuality in the UC. There was no comment at the time from Cohen.
For more on the UC, see this in depth New Republic report from Mariah Blake.
 
 

PFOX Plays The Victim; Wants To Fix One Problem By Causing Another

Today, the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays dropped a news release criticizing Virginia’s public universities for failing to distribute their literature to students. In the release, PFOX claims discrimination based on religion and ex-gayness is what motivates the lack of ex-gay literature.
While I don’t doubt that some of those counseling center staffers have problems with conservative religion, I submit that they are correct in their decision not to provide PFOX literature to students.  Much of what PFOX and related groups (e.g., International Healing Foundation, Voice of the Voiceless) promote is scientifically questionable and should be avoided for that reason alone.
The irony is that the group who conducted the undercover investigation accuse the university centers of suppressing accurate information when it is the ex-gay groups which (also?) do this. They know there is no peer reviewed research on therapeutic change that supports them. They also know that at least one of their therapeutic methods (i.e., cartharsis) has been evaluated via research and found to be harmful in some instances. They also know that their narrative regarding homosexuality (i.e., failures in the parent-child relationship) is scientifically dubious and yet they continue to promote this view as if it is supported by research and experience.
It may be that the counseling center directors favor gay affirming religion over non-affirming religion. If so, this would be problematic if the centers are publicly funded. However, any such finding of fact would not be reason to hand out erroneous literature to students. If there are non-affirming groups on campus or in the community (e.g., Andrew Marin’s groups or some other religious group which does not promote debunked theories and methods) then information about those groups should be made available to religious students. Therapeutically neutral approaches should be taught to center counselors to help them avoid establishing an approved religious stance on the subject in a public university. However, PFOX and Voice of the Voiceless should not be allowed to use religious discrimination as a basis to promote their problematic materials.

International Healing Foundation Announces The End Of Homosexuality

Really. Just look.

Announcing
THE END OF HOMOSEXUALITY
Want to Know How?

Greetings,
Want to be part of an exciting revolution? Want to end homosexuality and prevent bullying? Want to protect your children and grandchildren?
Everyday our kids are being inundated with false information about homosexuality-born that way and cannot change. This is both scientifically and scripturally untrue. We at IHF have developed solutions to end homosexuality:
1. Coming Out Straight: a plan to heal unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA)
2. Gay Children Straight Parents: a plan for family healing
3. Counselor Training Program: education for therapists & ministry leaders

Eventually all of this turns into a request for money. Want to end the gay? You gotta pay to play.
There is one thing that can be said about International Healing Foundation: Change is Possible.
They change their message and tone frequently. Good cop and bad cop, all in one package, all in one day.
Speaking of that slogan – change is possible – nearly two years ago, Cohen and IHF apologized for it.

We at IHF wish to offer a sincere, heartfelt apology to everyone in the LGBTQ community who may have been hurt by our message of “change.” As the director of IHF, I apologize and ask your forgiveness. I did not realize that by stating, “Change is Possible,” some would be offended. That was the furthest thing from my heart and mind. To think that our message of “change” would cause further pain to LGBTQ youth and adults is painful to imagine … I am deeply and profoundly sorry.

Now I can envision another future apology: We at IHF wish to apologize for claiming to bring about the end of homosexuality. We did not realize that by announcing the end of homosexuality, some would be offended.
One would be hard pressed to find a more confusing organization than IHF. On their “coming out loved” website, they claim to accept gays:

Some live a heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or transsexual life, while others are unsure about their sexuality and seek to explore alternatives. We uphold your right of self-determination, to follow the path that fills your heart with love. 

Bringing in the bullying theme heightens the confusion and contradiction. I can only imagine how IHF’s message would be received by a GLB teen or young adult. IHF is now identifying with the bullies who also want to end homosexuality and is doing so in the name of preventing bullying.
Surreal.
 
 

Is a Ban on Reparative Therapy a Violation of the First Amendment, Part One

Does a ban on reparative therapy infringe on the First Amendment rights of reparative therapists?

This question is at the heart of the debate (and a couple of lawsuits) regarding California’s law banning reparative therapy for minors. The law was set to take effect tomorrow but has been postponed pending a full hearing.

According to Eugene Volokh, the issue of professional-client speech has not been well-defined by the courts. In 2004, Volokh offered an excellent summary of issues relating to what the state can do to regulate professional speech to clients.  In the post, Volokh noted that professionals are subject to speech restrictions that other do not experience. For instance, the state can impose penalties when health care professionals offer harmful advice. Outside the professional context these expressions would be protected opinions.

According to Volokh, the Supreme Court has not been specific about important aspects of professional-client speech. He wrote:

Such restrictions and compulsions may in fact be properly upheld: There may be something in a professional-client relationship that would justify such extra regulation. But the Court has never explained (1) exactly what speech restrictions and speech compulsions would be allowed in such a situation, or (2) exactly when this reduced protection would be triggered. In Lowe v. SEC, 472 U.S. 181 (1985), a three-Justice concurrence (written by Justice White and joined by Chief Justice Burger and Justice Rehnquist) suggested this rule (paragraph break added):

One who takes the affairs of a client personally in hand and purports to exercise judgment on behalf of the client in the light of the client’s individual needs and circumstances is properly viewed as engaging in the practice of a profession. Just as offer and acceptance are communications incidental to the regulable transaction called a contract, the professional’s speech is incidental to the conduct of the profession. If the government enacts generally applicable licensing provisions limiting the class of persons who may practice the profession, it cannot be said to have enacted a limitation on freedom of speech or the press subject to First Amendment scrutiny.

Where the personal nexus between professional and client does not exist, and a speaker does not purport to be exercising judgment on behalf of any particular individual with whose circumstances he is directly acquainted, government regulation ceases to function as legitimate regulation of professional practice with only incidental impact on speech; it becomes regulation of speaking or publishing as such, subject to the First Amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Then Volokh offers a problem which seems relevant to the issues active in the current debate over conversion therapy.

b. Problem: Counseling That Advocates Race-Based Decisions

A state has long required all marriage and family counselors — defined as “any person who offers advice related to marriage and family matters in exchange for money” — to be licensed, and to follow rules prescribed by the state’s Marriage and Family Counseling Licensing Board.

The Board learns that some marriage and family counselors are advising clients not to enter into interracial marriages or interracial adoptions. Some are even advising clients who are in interracial marriages that the interracial nature of the marriage may be a source of the problem, and are suggesting in some instances that divorce may therefore be the only solution.

The Board believes that such advice is offensive, and harmful to the patients. It therefore enacts the following rule: “Any marriage and family counselor who uses the patients’ race, or the race of the patients’ spouse, children, or prospective adoptive children or stepchildren, as part of the basis for the counselor’s recommendation, shall have his or her license suspended for six months.”

Based on this rule, Mary Moe, a counselor who had engaged in such advice, has her license suspended. Her former patients, Laura Loh and Richard Roe, who divorced each other partly on Moe’s advice (Loh is East Asian and Roe is white), but who have since reconciled, sue Moe for emotional distress caused by her advice, which they claim constituted malpractice. The judge awards them $100,000 in a bench trial. One of the judge’s findings of fact is that Moe’s advice was unreasonable by the standards of the profession, and the sole evidence that the judge relies on is the Board’s rule.

What should be the proper analysis be under the First Amendment?

Did Mary Moe suffer a violation of her First Amendment rights?

When reparative therapists tell minor clients that they can change sexual orientation if they engage in deep emotional therapy, are they offering unreasonable advice which can be regulated by the state? When reparative therapists tell clients that homosexuality is a disorder of gender identity, can the state intervene? Should the state intervene when licensed therapists tell clients that pounding a pillow with a tennis racquet while screaming will help them get in touch with repressed memories underlying their homosexuality?

In this post, I want to raise the issues and generate some discussion. In part two, I will write about my views on the matters.

Reparative Therapy Makeover Continues: JONAH Responds to SPLC Suit

A group called Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund has taken on the defense of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (JONAH) against a suit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC complaint alleges that JONAH violated New Jersey’s consumer fraud law by promising sexual reorientation to clients without success. The complaint is here.

It is very discouraging to see the JONAH complaint framed as a freedom of conscience case. As the complaint outlines, the techniques alleged by the plaintiffs have been discredited within the mainstream mental health community and as such should be confronted. Please see this post on the “oranges therapy” and this one on the use of nudity by JONAH counselors.

Furthermore, it is misleading for JONAH to describe what it does in the following manner:

For over twelve years, JONAH has helped hundreds of people live the lives that they want, consistent with their personal values. JONAH’s mission is to give all people the opportunity to explore their internal conflicts around sexuality and other values in a caring, non-judgmental environment.

As I have noted elsewhere, reparative therapists are beginning to use the language of the sexual identity therapy framework to describe what they do. However, reparative therapy is inconsistent with the SIT Framework.

More on this topic:

Dr. Oz’s Reparative Therapy Adventure

Sexual Identity Therapy is Not Reparative Therapy

Reparative Therapy Makeover Continues: No Naked Therapy?

Reparative Therapy Makeover Continues: Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana?

Reparative Therapy Makeover Continues: What Does Mainstream Mean?

Reparative Therapy Makeover Continues: When Reparative Isn’t Reparative

Dr. Oz’s Reparative Therapy Adventure

You can watch what Dr. Oz puts on his website here.

On the show, International Healing Foundation’s Chris Doyle said what he does is mainstream therapy and he said IHF doesn’t discourage gayness. This is astounding.  Let’s remember what IHF does:

IHF and other reparative therapists tell clients that their same sex attraction is due to abuse or trauma at the hands of the same sex parent. I have seen families literally ripped apart by this kind of “intervention.” There is nothing supportive about these interventions.

Later Julie Hamilton came on and said that reparative therapists don’t stigmatize same-sex attraction. One of the opposing guests (Brad Lamm) said she was not being honest. He is certainly closer to correct. Just check out a few articles on the NARTH website:

Health Risks: Fisting and other Homosexual Practices – Assumes the health risks of certain practices are associated with sexual orientation.

Interview with Andy Comiskey – SSA is a pathology

Fathers of Male Homosexuals – The problem is with the father.

Homosexuality 101 – Julie Hamilton’s article blaming fathers

Reparative therapists on this show tried to make what they do about choice of a benign option. However, their model of homosexuality renders that strategy less than honest. When one teaches that same-sex attraction is always wrapped up in abuse, and/or a dysfunctional family, one cannot expect to be taken seriously or calmly.

 

Reparative therapy subject of Dr. Oz Show

The Dr. Oz Show today will feature Chris Doyle from the International Healing Foundation, Julie Hamilton from NARTH and Rich Wyler from People Can Change arguing in favor of sexual orientation change efforts. You can see teasers for the show here. Others will take the alternative point of view as well and you can see some of their views at the Dr. Oz website.

This show comes as Cohen’s methods and allies at JONAH are being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for consumer fraud.

International Healing Foundation Strikes Gold with School Project

After years of reporting meager income from operations of the International Healing Foundation, Richard Cohen reported over $600,000 in revenue on his 990 form for 2011. Most of that total – $540,000 – was revenue related to an IHF “special school project.” See below:

 The IHF website is silent about this project but it seems likely that this is the educational initiative Cohen described in his Fall 2007 newsletter. After lamenting what he considered to be school indoctrination relating to homosexuality, Cohen provided his solution:

To fill in the blanks left by the public school systems’ strictly gay-affirming curricula, the International Healing Foundation is set to produce a short DVD. This film is designed to be part of the schools’ health education courses, and clearly shows that people can change and come out of homosexuality. The film will feature the true story of a young man and his parents, as well as interviews with several other men and women who have made the change from gay to straight. Half the film’s $40,000 budget has been raised. The International Healing Foundation needs your help in raising the remaining $20,000 to make this film a reality. Please help save our children, and set the record straight!

Once this project is completed, an additional one million dollars will be needed to send a copy of the DVD to every school district in the country. We will urge them to provide a DVD for each of their schools, so the complete story of homosexuality can be told. This historical film will have the power to turn the tide of strictly gay affirmation by proclaiming the truth about change. Millions of students will then have the opportunity to decide for themselves the kind of life they choose to live.

As improbable as it might seem, it appears that IHF has found a donor or several donors willing to fund this effort. The project appears to be moving forward. According to the 990, IHF has spent over $180,000 on expenses relating to the “special school project.”

Yesterday I reported that Unification Church president, Hyung Jin Moon considers IHF founder Richard Cohen to be a member of the Unification church movement and the foremost expert on homosexuality in the church. With this school project, Cohen apparently wants to bring his “expertise” to the nations’ schools. Given the volatile climate of public schools related to anti-gay bullying, I am nervous about the impact of schools showing a video from IHF to students.

While I doubt these clips are a part of the school video, it is worth remembering how Cohen approaches sexual reorientation. First from a CNN appearance:

and then from the documentary, Chasing the Devil:

UPDATE: Another more likely possibility for the video expenses is the underwriting of Acception Productions (another hat tip to David Hart for reminding me of this). This video purports to be about bullying prevention but adds a “U” (for unwanted) to the usual GLBT designation of same sex orientation. Thus, IHF attempts to straddle the fence – claiming to support kids who are same-sex attracted but also supporting reparative therapy interventions which pathologize them. How ironic. Initially, Cohen claimed that gays were using the schools to advance ideological ends and now he is doing it for the same purpose.

Here is a description of the initial showing of their video to public school staff:

The event also featured a talk by Betsy Gallun, Supervisor of Health Education, Prince George’s County, MD and a panel discussion of middle and high school students from the Washington, DC area that was moderated by WHUR’s Molette Green.

Here is the trailer for the video:

In the curriculum booklet which accompanies Acception is this gem which is supposed to be discussed with students:

Group 5: Innate and Developmental Characteristics. – We are all born with unique personalities. We also develop specific characteristics through familial and environmental factors. In Acception, the cartoon “Are People Born Gay?” examines the scientific evidence surrounding homosexuality, and concludes with the American Psychological Association that: “Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”49 With your group, discuss some of the characteristics people are born with, as well as other characteristics that are acquired. What do you think we can and cannot change about ourselves? Share your thoughts with your classmates, and remember to accept and appreciate everyone’s opinion.

And then this claim is made regarding sexual orientation change:

Group 9: Respecting Choices. – While most people experience little or no choice in their sexual attractions, many people make decisions based on their personal, religious, and/or cultural values when it comes to their sexual behavior. For example, some individuals who experience same-sex attraction may find their feelings are at odds with their values and choose not to engage in homosexual behavior. Others, still, may actually experience a shift or change in their sexual feelings throughout their lives due to a variety of experiences; in fact, emerging research is finding that sexuality is somewhat fluid for certain individuals, and should not be viewed as fixed or permanent.52,53,54,55,56

I think it will be clear to most long time observers of IHF that this video is simply a means of getting the “change is possible” message in the schools. While I have no problem with the idea that some people choose to align their behavior with religious beliefs, it is another thing entirely to give students false hope and then route them to religiously oriented ex-gay programs which use bizarre methods to try to reorient sexuality.

Hat tip to David Hart.

Unification Church President Says Richard Cohen is Foremost Expert on Gays in Their Movement

From 2007 through 2008, I wrote a series of posts which revealed ongoing ties between the Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation and the Unification Church (aka Moonies). Initially, Cohen’s staffer Hilde Wiemann denied she was a member of the movement but then later admitted she had been in the movement long after Cohen said there were no ties between his organization and the church.

This week I have come across video which again links Cohen with the Unification church. On October 7, 2012, Moon’s son and president of the Unification Church Hyung Jin Moon held a town hall meeting at the Unification Bay Area Family Church. Sun Myung Moon recently died, but in 2008, he appointed Hjung Jin to be the leader of the church.

The full three hour video is here. Below is a brief excerpt of Hyung Jin’s answer to a question about homosexuality (at about 2 hours and 40 minutes into the session):

Moon says:

Richard Cohen is a member in our movement who has worked on this tremendously, the whole issue. Even as you mentioned, you said that people are gay through no fault of their own. But of course this is debatable; that’s an assumption. Richard Cohen actually debates that assumption. He’s actually an expert on this issue and so maybe we can connect you to him, Richard Cohen. If you could, give your contact information to Dr. Grubb, we will try to connect you to Richard Cohen. I think in our movement he is probably the foremost expert on that whole issue, and hopefully he can contribute and helping us with programs in the future as well.

I have asked IHF for comment with no immediate response. The mention of Cohen by Unification Church President Hyung Jin Moon does not conclusively prove that Cohen is member of the church. Perhaps Cohen is the only person Hyung Jin knows who claims expertise regarding homosexuality. However, the way he describes Cohen and the ease with which he indicates he can connect the questioner with Cohen again raises questions about Cohen’s earlier denials.

Cohen said he left the Unification Church in 1995. Hyung Jin was about 16 years old at the time.