Theory: Homosexuality is a mental disorder; its causes include divorce, race, and need for a parent’s love, and it can be ‘cured’ by therapeutic means.
Credentials Required to Support this Theory: Doctorates in clinical neuropsychology and cognitive psychiatry, plus extensive behavioral research and multiple peer-reviewed publications on human sexual development
Actual Credentials: A master’s degree in counseling psychology. Plus he used to have sex with guys, then eventually stopped.


Richard A. Cohen knows a thing or two about being gay – he had a boyfriend in college, and then again for three years after he got married to a woman. He also knows plenty about wanting to not be gay; since becoming an evangelical Christian he has written several books and founded a non-profit organization dedicated to the practice of turning homosexuals into heterosexuals by therapeutic means that include cuddling with members of the same sex and hitting a pillow with a tennis racket while yelling.

It is entirely understandable that Cohen would want to think that he has found a way to correct what he sees as a ‘personality disorder’. Ignoring the fame and fortune that his work has garnered for him, it is no doubt comforting for a man with a wife, three kids, and a history of same-sex attraction to believe that he has found a ‘fix’. He also, no doubt, has a wealth of selectively-chosen ‘evidence’ to support his claims, with himself as Exhibit One. The problem is, no element of his premises, conclusions or practices is in any way supported by the substantial corpus of scientific research on the subject, and Cohen has never attempted any of the clinical research that would be required to challenge those established conclusions.

Not every widely-accepted scientific theory is necessarily correct. Occasionally – rarely, but occasionally – new evidence or new thinking overturns established precepts. Richard Cohen, however, is not a visionary in the field of behavioral psychology. He is an unqualified and unlicensed purveyor of theories that offer the kind of hope that people like him cannot find – for a good reason – within the mainstream of psychotherapy. He does not know what he is talking about. He is a toxicon.

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