Relationship guru John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, is established seemingly as a permanent fixture in popular culture and has something of a cult following.
Mars/Venus has reportedly sold more than 15 million copies since its publication in 1992. And Gray has sold millions of additional books through various spin-offs of that original bestseller.
According to his Mars/Venus website, "John Gray, Ph.D. is the best-selling relationship author of all time."
Based upon that phenomenal publishing success Gray continued to expand his presence as a relationship guru by doling out professional advice to millions of readers weekly. He does this through a syndicated column within major daily newspapers coast to coast, from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Daily News.
Gray's column even appears internationally through publications in England, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Korea, Latin America and the South Pacific.
John Gray is also a regular featured "expert" within Redbook, Brides and Parents magazines and has been profiled by USA Today, Time, Forbes, TV Guide and People.
Almost all the major television networks have given Gray a platform to hold forth with his special brand of counseling for couples, singles and families. He has sat with Larry King, Oprah and Phil Donahue.
In 2000 Gray launched his own syndicated TV show hosted by actress Cybill Shepherd, which premiered in more than 180 television markets, though it was later cancelled.
Not discouraged Gray later gave birth to a Las Vegas show titled Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus at the Flamingo Hotel.
John Gray has turned his book into a brand and wrought a financial empire through publishing, a chain of licensed counseling centers, seminar workshops, a syndicated advice column, television and radio broadcasts, not to mention the lucrative lecture circuit.
The synergy between all of Gray's various interests and enterprises have undoubtedly made him a wealthy man.
But the basis upon which John Gray built his professional career and counseling conglomerate is not sound and seems to be essentially faked.
The relationship guru who constantly promotes himself as "Dr. John Gray" and lists a "Ph.D." has only one accredited degree, a high school diploma.
Previously CultNews.com reported that Gray's doctorate is "worthless." According to California's attorney general a "diploma mill" that was later shut down issued it.
CultNews kept checking further and can now report that both of John Gray's other purported degrees are also unaccredited and essentially worthless too.
Neither his BA nor his MA is from an accredited institution of higher education.
Gray received his undergraduate degrees from Maharishi European Research University in Seelisberg, Switzerland before returning to the United States in 1982, according to his posted bio at Brooks International.
Both accrediting organizations could not find the Swiss Maharishi U anywhere in their exhaustive and well-maintained databases.
The Swiss school should not be confused with Maharishi University of Management in Iowa.
Maharishi University in Iowa was not granted accreditation to issue a Masters degree in psychology until 1984 according to records kept by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS). The NCACS is the regional organization that has accredited the school.
John Gray is a professional member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), which he prominently lists on his bio.
However, the ACA requires its professional members to have at least a Masters degree accredited by CHEA.
Mr. Gray apparently disregarded that standard and the ACA must not have checked.
Associate Director of Member Services Carol Neiman explained that members are on an "honor system" due to the size of the organization, they have 50,000 members.
Neiman pointed out that the ACA Code of Ethics specifically states that members must "advertise or represent...their credentials in an accurate manner that is not false, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent."
The ACA code also states members "are responsible for correcting any known misrepresentations of their credentials by others."
But Gray has not corrected Publisher Harper Collins that represents him as a "Ph.D." in his latest book Mars and Venus in the Workplace (2002).
It appears that Gray not only failed the ACA "honor system," but also has violated its ethical guidelines.
Gray also says in his bio that he is a "Consulting Editor of the Family Journal," which is a quarterly publication put out by the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC). And he adds that he is a "member of [its] &distinguished advisory board."
But John Gray does not meet the minimum educational requirements to be a member of the IAMFC.
The IAMFC Ethics Standards regarding competence read, "The minimal level of training shall be considered a master's degree." Moreover, members must "accurately represent their education&credentials [and] make concerted efforts to ensure that statements others make about them and/or their credentials are accurate."
Mr. Gray again appears to be rather ethically challenged.
Gray has also claimed the title of "Fellow and Diplomat of the American Board of Medical Psychotherapists and Psychodiagnosticians."
Perhaps this is another organization that relies upon the "honor system"?
"Dr." Gray also claims he is a "Certified Family Therapist," though he does not specify what organization certified him.
He is certainly not certified or licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, which would be the regulating body within the state where Mr. Gray resides.
Ironically, Gray himself has gone into the licensing business through his Mars/Venus counseling centers. But he advises that the counseling center licensee program is only "open to licensed mental health professionals," something he clearly is not.
Remember the Hans Christian Anderson story The Emperor's New Suit?
The fable relates how swindlers convinced a ruler that they were weavers, but only those fit for office could see their clothes.
At the end of this story the Emperor parades naked down the street, but the people along the way for some time refuse to admit he has nothing on.
Well in this modern version Gray has woven his own finery composed of credentials from schools that are essentially invisible, at least according to respected accrediting organizations such as WES and CHEA.
And organizations like the ACA, IAMFC, book publishers and newspapers, network television and various other media outlets have somehow failed to see the naked truth.
Even though information about Gray's "worthless" doctorate has been on the Internet for some time.
Doesn't anyone ever Google him?
John Gray's office was contacted the day before this article was posted for a response. A woman that identified herself as an "assistant" took notes and said Mr. Gray would be contacted regarding the substance of this report.
However, he never responded.
The assistant insisted though that Mr. Gray did have an accredited high school diploma and she said Governor's State University in Illinois also had given him an "honorary degree."
How can anyone trust advice from someone like this?
Rather than basing his expert status upon his personal experience, Mr. Gray chose instead to mislead both the public and professionals by clothing himself with a mantle of degrees and dubiously achieved memberships.
However, when scrutinized it can be seen that John Gray "has nothing on at all," much like the Emperor in Anderson's fable.
In the end Mr. Gray comes across as more of a poser than a professional.