International Healing Foundation associate in mortuary ministry

In the strange but true category…
Caleb Brundidge is an associate of Richard Cohen at the International Healing Foundation. His bio on the IHF website reads:

Caleb Lee Brundidge was born in Florida and lived fifteen years in Atlanta , Georgia . He moved to New Jersey to pursue ministry and healing opportunities. Shortly after that Caleb met Richard Cohen at a NARTH conference (National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality). Being profoundly moved and impressed by Mr. Cohen’s teaching, Caleb began an active course of study with Richard and the International Healing Foundation (IHF). Together with what he learned from IHF, healing experiences with other healthy men in his life, and a deep and personal relationship with God, eventually Caleb experienced freedom from unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA). For two and a half years, he led a support group in his church for men and women conflicted about their sexuality. Following this, Caleb moved to Maryland and pursued active participation in IHF activities, facilitating Tender Loving Care (TLC) Healing Seminars, sharing his testimony at conferences, and coaching men, parents, clergy and ministry leaders. He became a Sexual Reorientation Coach in 2006. In 2007, Caleb moved to Phoenix , Arizona in order to pursue opportunities with Extreme Prophetic Ministry. There he helps men struggling with unwanted SSA through coaching and on-line support. Caleb is available for phone and on-line coaching, and speaking engagements at churches.

Mr. Brundidge is also mentioned in the beginning of this video by Patricia King. Ms. King leads Extreme Prophetic which advances some doctrines considered fringe among charismatics. See this letter that expressed significant concern about this doctrine of the dead and other aspects of her work.
xpmedia
(Mr. Brundidge is to the far right)
The information describing this video mentions Mr. Brundidge as one of the individuals who lead the evangelism teams to the mortuaries.

Raising the dead has always been a mandate of the church. Jesus commissioned us to go in His name and preach the good news of the Kingdom. He then went on to explain, that includes healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. Our evangelism teams, led by Caleb Brundidge and Melissa Fisher recently grabbed hold of this and went out to practice raising the dead. Watch this video, hear Melissa share some great testimonies, and be inspired on how you can take reaching out with the gospel to a whole new level!


Mr. Brundidge continues his work with IHF and can be seen here with Hilde Wiemann extolling the benefits of IHF’s workshops on this YouTube video.

And here is a longer one where Mr. Brundidge describes the work of IHF and is labeled as a sexual reorientation coach.
For those seeking assistance with these difficult areas, it is a good practice to ask some questions about the approach and worldview which forms the foundation. Caution about Extreme Prophetic has been urged even by those who are more inclined toward the charismatic persuasion. See this recent article which expresses concern for Christians evaluating what various ministries offer. The article could have been aimed directly at Extreme Prophetic.

Masculinity and same-sex attraction

I was talking to an acquaintance who attended a Journey into Manhood weekend. He was disappointed that his attractions to the same sex did not evaporate after the weekend. To be sure, he felt a greater sense of masculinity and much less self-conscious. During the first week or two after the weekend, he seemed to notice women more and did not feel the usual tug to look at gay porn. However, after awhile he noticed something unexpected. At what he felt was the height of his feelings of security about his manhood, he again experienced same-sex attractions. At that point, he began to feel an assault on his sense of manhood. In other words, instead of the sense of diminished masculinity leading to same-sex attraction, it was the other way around. His awareness of same-sex attraction came first and then his reduced sense of himself as a male.
I have noticed this before in the stories of men who describe SSA. The awareness of same-sex attraction in their early years (elementary school, junior high) came prior to struggles over masculinity. I guess once this association is made, one could trigger the other. I wonder if this kind of association is what makes the masculinity enhancing weekends so attractive to reparative therapists.
I see no or little benefit from them on either front although some men, straight and gay, believe they have been helpful. The New Warriors Training Adventure, recommended to SSA men by Richard Cohen and Joseph Nicolosi, rarely alters SSA even though many gay males say that they feel much better about themselves as men after involvement in them.

Digest: Moon, Obama, Cohen, Povia, Weinland

I have been looking into several things of late, some of which may develop into a post. For now, I’ll just a few spots (not sure if they are high or low, maybe just strange).
-According to Unificationist websites, Barack Obama has been friendly with Sun Myung Moon front groups, the American Clergy Leadership Conference and True Family Values since before Obama became a Senator. One highly placed Moon follower and official related that Obama’s wife may be involved in Unificationism in some way. See this page for more on that topic.
-Speaking of Unificationism, Richard Cohen’s interview on Universal Peace Television (MoonTV) appears on the Unificationist YouTube account of Kevin Pickard (UPDATE: Scrubbed within 30 minutes of the post, see below). Also, Cohen has been active on YouTube of late with account IHF2008. Looks like he is putting the archives up for view with past appearances on O’Reilly Factor, Paula Zahn, Larry King and local news. I wonder if we will see his appearances on Jimmie Kimmel, the Daily Show and the 2006 Paula Zahn Show?
-We had an English translation of Luca Era Gay here, if not first, pretty close to it. Now, You can listen to it on YouTube. It is kind of catchy…
-Did you know that nuclear explosions might rock the US by March? If you are a follower of Ronald Weinland, you are getting ready for the end times. He claims to be one of two end time prophets with the Kingdom coming in by 2012. If you are interested in how religiously-based mind control groups operate, you can read a bit on this discussion blog for those who are believers in Weinland and those who are on the fence.
That is an odd lineup…
UPDATE: In what is the quickest scrub job I can recall, the Cohen video has already been taken down from Kevin Pickard’s YouTube page. Here is a screen capture of the page and the video from a couple of days ago. I suspect next will be the same interview on Universal Peace Television.

Divided Memories: Genesis Associates and Detachment

I have posted before about Genesis Associates and am now posting more of the documentary about their controversial techniques. This time detachment is the focus of the clip. I believe this documentary is so important as a cautionary tale regarding expressive therapies – such as recommended by Richard Cohen and the Mankind Project.
It is a long (over 8 minutes) but an important clip demonstrating that unfounded ideas can lead to harmful effects.

Reparative therapy: The musical?

This one is kind of funny in a way but in a non-funny way, it keeps us on track discussing how worldviews clash.
In Italy, a big music festival may feature soon a tribute of sorts to reparative therapy. Here is the scoop:

ANSA) – Rome, December 23 – Italian gay rights group Arcigay on Tuesday threatened to disrupt Italy’s biggest musical event of the year, the Sanremo song festival, if a song apparently about ‘converting’ gays to heterosexuality is not pulled.
The song by 36-year-old Milan singer-songwriter Povia, entitled Luca Was Gay, was announced on Monday as one of 16 numbers that will compete for the title of best song at next year’s festival in February.

Luca Was Gay (maybe it sounds more lyrical in Italian) is causing a fuss because it apparently tells the story of a reparative therapy success story.

The Arcigay president said Povia had gone on to say that he had ”had a gay phase, it lasted seven months, and then I got over it” as well as claiming to have ”converted” two of his friends who ”thought they were gay” but were now married.
Mancuso claimed the song referred to a formerly gay man called Luca Tolve, who claims to have been ”cured” of his homosexuality thanks to the controversial reparative therapies of American Catholic psychologist Joseph Nicolosi ”widely refuted by the global scientific community”.

So what is an offended party to do? Protest!

Mancuso warned state broadcaster RAI, which shows the glitzy five-day event each year, that protests would be ”extremely strong, noisy and organised” if the song was not withdrawn from the festival.
Some 200 people signed up to a Facebook protest group launched by Arcigay on Tuesday within hours of its going online.

Even though I am not a reparative therapist, I lean toward agreement with this assessment:

But politician Luca Volonte’ of the Catholic UDC party described Arcigay’s efforts as ”a clear attempt at discrimination and censorship”.

All kind of songs extolling one form of love or another are sung in broad daylight, why not a song about trying to change the direction of one’s attractions? Maybe there will be tennis raquets providing some of the percussion. Maybe it is an emo song with people screaming about their moms. An encore might be Katy Perry singing, “I kissed a girl and used to like it.”
Oy.

International Healing Foundation releases infomercial; ready to heal the world

Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation has released an infomercial describing their services and claims. Roll the tape…

In the video, he features his three part program designed to help people go straight, help their kids go straight, and help their clients go straight. He thinks pretty highly of these resources as is apparent in his Fall, 2008 newsletter:

WE HAVE THE ANSWERS
I am proud to announce that I have completed 21 years in public service and ministry. God called me in June 1987 to reach out and help those with unwanted SSA and their loved ones, and to spread the truth throughout the world that no one is born this way, no one chooses to have SSA, and that change is possible. I have been faithful and even more so, successful in helping thousands change their orientation and parents reconcile with their SSA loved ones. Furthermore, I have trained and educated thousands of professionals, equipping them with a systematic approach to helping SSA strugglers and their families. The International Healing Foundation (IHF) is the first organization in the world to create three landmark proven successful protocols:
Coming Out Straight–book and CD/MP3 series
Gay Children, Straight Parents–book and CD/MP3 series
Counselor Training Program–manual and CD/MP3 series
These are our three Olympic Gold Medals to help heal the world! I spent a lifetime preparing and training for this moment. I fought my way out of homosexuality. Against all odds I came out straight! That was indeed a miracle of God.

And you can have this miracle too if you sign up for the three Gold Medals. The world could use a little healing but I am skeptical it will come through IHF.
Richard has big plans for 2009. In his newsletter, he details them. Here is perhaps the most ambitious:

Loving Gays the Right Way: Exposing the Homosexual Myth is the title of a new book that I will write next year. Please read more about this in the 2009 Goals and Projects section. Together we can make a difference, saving one life at a time. Thank you for all your support this year and please contribute generously and/or purchase multiple copies of our books and CD series to donate to public and church libraries. For a contribution of $40 or more, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of the school DVD upon its completion.

He also wants to produce a video for schools which he mentions in the last line.

Over the past year I have shared about our ambitious project to create a film for use in public schools. This year we have already filmed two powerful stories of change—one youngman and his parents from the Midwest, and another from the East Coast. We will film a young woman either by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2009. Each of thesemen and woman came out of homosexuality! Their stories are powerful and will speak directly to our young people in public schools that they do have a choice—either to live a gay life, or to seek change and come out straight. We will promote true tolerance, real diversity, and equality for all!

Richard appears to have a love-hate relationship with the media. He seems to love being involved in it but it has not always been friendly to him. In the latter category is his appearance on the recent documentary, Chasing the Devil. In it he walks off camera twice when asked difficult questions about asking clients to raise money for IHF and his practice of bioenergetics. In a future post, I will review that video.

Ex-gay history: Charles Socarides and Richard Cohen on CNN

Richard Cohen has added some content to his YouTube account with a new infomercial and a clip of an interview on CNN with Charles Socarides and Cohen from what appears to be the early to mid 90s (probably 1994 given this article). Socarides mentions NARTH so it would be after the founding of that organization in 1992. The sound does not match the speakers but this is an interesting clip nonetheless which demonstrates that NARTH’s premise in the early days was to return homosexuality to a status of mental disorder.

International Healing Foundation looking for new leader

In his Fall, 2008 newsletter, Richard Cohen says that he is looking for a new Director of the International Healing Foundation. On page 3, Cohen announces:

PASSING THE TORCH OF TRUTH AND LOVE
Now that these three landmark healing protocols are completed, it’s time to raise up the next generation of healers. Therefore, I would like to announce that we are seeking a new director for the International Healing Foundation (IHF). We are looking for a committed person with a background in counseling who has a passion to help those with unwanted SSA and their loved ones, as well as a desire to spread this message of hope and healing throughout the world. If you are interested or know of anyone you who might be a good fit, please contact our office and apply for this position.
It will take time to train the new director, who would set up residence in the Washington, D.C., metro area in order to develop a fulltime clientele. This person would be supervised and trained to take over the post of director. In this way, we wish to build a strong future for the next generation, bringing great love, light, and truth into the world. Our motto is: Changing the world one life at a time. And as you see, our newsletter, after 21 years of publication, has a new name: Change Is Possible!

I emailed Richard to ask him what he planned to do once a new director is hired and trained but I have not heard back from him. He seems to feel completed now that he has authored three new training resources which he says provide “the answers.”

WE HAVE THE ANSWERS
I am proud to announce that I have completed 21 years in public service and ministry. God called me in June 1987 to reach out and help those with unwanted SSA and their loved ones, and to spread the truth throughout the world that no one is born this way, no one chooses to have SSA, and that change is possible. I have been faithful and even more so, successful in helping thousands change their orientation and parents reconcile with their SSA loved ones. Furthermore, I have trained and educated thousands of professionals, equipping them with a systematic approach to helping SSA strugglers and their families.
The International Healing Foundation (IHF) is the first organization in the world to create three landmark proven successful protocols:
Coming Out Straight–book and CD/MP3 series
Gay Children, Straight Parents–book and CD/MP3 series
Counselor Training Program–manual and CD/MP3 series
These are our three Olympic Gold Medals to help heal the world! I spent a lifetime preparing and training for this moment. I fought my way out of homosexuality. Against all odds I came out straight! That was indeed a miracle of God. And then, after obtaining my masters degree in counseling psychology, I set up the International Healing Foundation and counseled hundreds of men and women, helping them achieve their heterosexual goals. The fruit of these experiences is a four-stage protocol leading individuals from a homosexual to heterosexual orientation detailed in Coming Out Straight.
Simultaneously, I assisted hundreds of parents to set love in order, helping their children come out of SSA. Again, more miracles occurred. As a result of helping these family members and friends, came a twelve-step protocol, a strategic plan to bring radical healing in all family relationships, described in Gay Children, Straight Parents. And finally, as a result of training hundreds of therapists, coaches, clergy and ministry leaders, teaching them how to assist both the strugglers and their family members, came our Counselor Training Program.
Each of these three proven successful protocols has been recorded on CD/MP3 in a professional studio. The ComingOut Straight teaching series describes how to heal from unwanted SSA; the Gay Children, Straight Parents teaching series describes how to assist SSA loved ones in reclaiming their true gender identity and fulfill their heterosexual potential; and the Counselor Training Program teaching series describes how to coach/counsel/mentor the strugglers and their loved ones. Please see the three ads in the pages that follow for a detailed description of each CD/MP3 series. These breakthrough protocols will help promote healing in the world. Now is the time for change!

So now that Richard has the answers needed to heal the world, he apparently feels it is time to move on to something else, although he is vague about what.
It has always puzzled me that Richard claims that God called him in 1987 to start IHF. In 1987, he was involved in the Unification church which has a very different view of God than orthodox Christianity. See the IHF page for more information on this aspect of the history of IHF.

Exodus makes new policy statement regarding holding therapy and IHF

Recently, questions have been raised on various blogs about connections between Exodus International and Richard Cohen. Initially,Exgaywatch noted that a statement regarding distance from Mr. Cohen’s methods had been removed from their website and that Janelle Hallman, on the Exodus Speaker’s Bureau, recommends the International Healing Foundation on her website. Then XGW received a statement from Hilde Wiemann, saying that Mr. Cohen and the leadership of Exodus had met and made peace.
In response to my inquiry, today, Alan Chambers, Executive Director of Exodus, alerted me that a revised policy statement has been posted on the organization’s website. It reads:

Holding/Touch Therapy
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.

The former statement is here and was made in light of television appearances of Mr. Cohen demonstrating his work.
Via this broader statement, the policy regarding holding/touch therapy could probably be applied to such groups as Journey into Manhood and the Mankind Project, where various processes involve paternalistic holding/cuddling of clients.

Abeo: Ex-gay in the UK?

The Irish Iris Robinson controversy appears to have quieted down somewhat. I noted last week that Northern Ireland’s “first lady” entered controversial waters by declaring homosexuality an abomination, with subsequent embellishments. Mrs. Robinson further recommended therapy for gays to change via a psychiatrist, Paul Miller, who advises Mrs. Robinson on health matters.
As noted in my initial post on this topic, I wrote to Paul Miller to ask him if he endorsed the bioenergetics techniques of Richard Cohen. This was a relevant question since Dr. Miller organized a training led by Mr. Cohen in November, 2007. Dr. Miller did not directly answer that question but instead referred me to the website of his organization – Abeo. What is Abeo?

ABEO is an umbrella organization, set up by Dr Paul Miller, of like-minded mental health professionals who want people to be all that they can be; so that they may experience deeper joy in their lives. Our tag-line, ‘joy through change’ captures the heart of this vision.
What does ABEO mean?
ABEO in Latin means, ‘to pass away’ or ‘to come to an end’, but in Nigerian it means ‘my arrival brings joy’. By taking this name we want to show that our mission is to show that all of us experience pain of different sorts, however, when faced with issues that bring pain into our lives we can be empowered to overcome them and experience joy through finding healthy adaptations to meet our core needs.

There is much emphasis on this site about meeting core needs, especially masculinity. There are pages on manhood and gender identity which look familiar to anyone conversant in reparative drive perspectives on same-sex attraction. On the Gender Identity page, links are provided to Jonah, NARTH, Mankind Project, New Warriors Training Adventure, Internation Healing Foundation (Richard Cohen), and People Can Change.
The approach to therapy is called “gender affirming therapy” and is designed to address same-sex attraction through enhanced masculinity. Abeo says:

Where a person experiences unwanted SSA we can provide expertise and therapy to help the person meet their core unmet needs in a way that allows them to resolve their SSA and so move towards a fuller expression of masculinity and a heterosexual expression of that gender identity.

Abeo also offers training to mental health professionals, which presumably included the Cohen visit to Northern Ireland. About the training, Abeo says:

ABEO also provides training to those professionals working in the area of unwanted SSA. Through links with NARTH, JONAH, the International Healing Foundation and a number of international experts we are seeking to spread evidence based skills that will help professionals working in this area.

Given the aspiration of teaching “evidence based skills,” the links provided are puzzling. Where is the evidence that the kinds of masculinity-building interventions promoted by these organizations “resolve” SSA toward a “heterosexual expression?” As we have noted, MKP in the US has been through all of that with many manly gay warriors happy to dispute these claims.
Another aspect of this story that is interesting to me is that I expected this site to be more Christian-based given Iris Robinson’s strong words of a referral. MKP and NWTA certainly do not point their participants to Christianity as a means of manly identity. The UK Scouting Association issued an advisory warning scouting groups not to rent camps to the MKP. In the US, the ex-gay organizations can be divided into those who seem to be faith-based and those that are based in the men’s movement. If that division is real in the UK, it seems clear from a review of Abeo that the men’s movement ex-gay wing got a major plug from the first lady.