12-Step Emotional Extortion and Abuse at Samaritan Counseling Center

12-step

I had reached out to my therapist and expressed to her that I had been doing very well for a couple of months until being unexpectedly terminated, and needed to process it better. They refused to talk to me unless I went to an ‘addictions specialist’. I had already voluntarily been through that outpatient rehab and sessions with him for the past six months and told them I didn’t find it necessary and had decided not to continue. After all, I had gone to therapy to find a different kind of help than I was getting in daily AA meetings. They would not listen to me. I became extremely depressed over the course of a month of this and finally called her for another session even though I hadn’t met with the addiction counselor. She thought I had fulfilled the requirement, so she scheduled the appointment with me. But during the session I told her again that I didn’t like the requirement and really just wanted to talk to her. She terminated me much more solidly.

Shortly thereafter, I ended up in a psychiatric ward (over Christmas). My doctor recommended it as a way to get a detox without going through the whole ‘rehab’ thing. My doctor told me to make sure I tell them exactly how depressed I was so that they wouldn’t turn me down. I enjoyed interacting with the patients and staff and having regular meals.

The last day of the psychiatric ward stay, though, I was worried about what to do when I got out. The therapy situation was still on my mind constantly and I was still confused about it. They hadn’t really helped me process it. I just wanted to talk to my therapist as I had done for about 8 months, which was a nearby and convenient session for me which I enjoyed. Without the AA meetings, I no longer had many people to talk to. Samaritan refused to answer my requests.

My sister was able to get a session somehow. In the session, I repeatedly told them that I didn’t think this needed to be about alcohol, and had written a detailed letter about my understanding of transference and attachment and closure issues saying little or nothing about any alcohol problem except that I had appreciated the fact that therapy allowed me to consider and explore alternatives to AA (such getting myself insurance and getting to a doctor, for example).

David Olsen would not acknowledge any of this, and just said that I needed to agree to go to a rehab. I negotiated to do this if I could explore the transference issues with my therapist. She told me that I would be able to resume ‘non-addictions’ therapy with her if I went to rehab and she could be in contact with the addiction treatment providers. It seemed like she was going to work with me as I went through this process again.

Initially, it did seem like it was going to happen. She would start talking to me, and then say she had to check with David Olsen, and then would come back with another requirement before she could meet with me.

After rejecting the $17,000 30-day inpatient rehab that James Garrett (the 12-step counselor I was referred to) recommended, we also considered a less expensive one, but when I found out that the inpatient rehabs were 12-step based, I refused. I ended up agreeing to go back to Saint Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center (SPARC), an outpatient rehab where I spent no more than 1.5 hours per week but was paying out of pocket for a group session, a private talk with an individual counselor (which took place at the same time as the group meeting), and a drug test. After a few weeks of this I was practically suicidal again after paying for 12-step indoctrination, worksheets about powerlessness over alcohol and selfishness being the root of all my problems.

I left messages repeatedly telling her about what I had been learning about SMART and the history of problems with AA. They still would not return my calls or schedule a session to discuss what the SPARC counselor called a ‘frustrating session’ and my termination from rehab. It had been 3 months and still I wasn’t able to connect the providers with my therapist in any meaningful way to be relieved of what was becoming very expensive and depressing for me. I decided to try one more time to fulfill the requirement to be in sessions with Jim Garrett. Instead of having sessions in parallel with therapy, an unknown amount of this ‘treatment’ became necessary. First it was ‘weekly for at least two months’ (records show that David Olsen intended to drag it out 6-8 months) and I asked why should I have to pay $440/month for who knows how long to talk to an AA member to get back into therapy. After demanding that he approve me to speak with my therapist in a session, he told me I could call her for an appointment. She again refused to see me saying I didn’t ‘follow the suggestions’ and hadn’t done enough treatment (treatment that I was literally crying out to be stopped).

The addiction specialist told me that my drinking had damaged the relationship and I may never get any closure on it. This made no sense to me, and just made me feel like shit. That was the serious consequence that I’d have to come to terms with in sessions with him. I told him I wanted to complain about this, and I wanted to have an opportunity to tell her how mad I was at this and hopefully move on from the addiction treatment altogether and be treated like a normal person again. He suggested I write out my complaint and not send it (like a ‘burn your resentments’ kind of thing).

I complained to Samaritan Counseling about religious discrimination, and Executive Director of David Olsen told me ‘A therapist has the right to her preferred mode of treatment’, and I told him, no, this is not legal.

I told Jim Garrett that these ‘trust building’ sessions and being jerked around for 5 months had destroyed all my trust in every one of them. He said ‘Maybe you can trust your higher power?’ with a smile. I immediately became even more depressed. Had he not heard a word I said about being done with AA?

Jenness Clairmont then sat with me to give me my records informed me that I had been accused of harassment way back in December (nobody had ever told me that before, and the therapist’s behavior toward me when it seemed we’d resume work didn’t seem to indicate she was afraid of me) and that I would never get another session with the therapist. She said she’d follow up with me, though. I read through my records and realized I wasn’t crazy. They had been forcing me into AA, quite shamelessly, and had no intention of acknowledging my experience.

I repeatedly asked for a follow up session with the Clinical Director to process my termination, and they again didn’t follow up as I wrote out my interpretation of the records in detail, except with a termination letter telling me under no circumstances was I to have any further contact with anyone at the Center or its affiliates.

I was furious and devastated, and checked back into the psychiatric ward where I apparently belonged. The team on my case was much bigger this time and they told me I’m an alcoholic and that I had violated boundaries with my therapist. I told them I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t need treatment. I was obsessing about the 12-step coercion. They gave me anti-psychotic drugs to ‘help me stop obsessing’. They didn’t explain what boundaries I violated.

Since then, I’ve been traumatized and unable to think about much else other than “Why is this allowed to happen? Is this happening to other people?” and “What really did happen?” There was never any chance to come to an understanding. I was never given a good reason for why nobody at Samaritan could talk to me, with more and more solid barriers the more I directed my complaint at 12-step coercion.

I tried to explain to them in detail what I saw as the pattern and a problem (12-step coercion), and they didn’t seem to appreciate my insight, as I would have expected, as it would help avoid a scenario like this in the future.

Very disturbing and more and more I think it’s not just idiotic, it was cruel and criminal. They do seem intent on reserving the right to do this again.

Initially I just tried to give them a Yelp review. They complained and had my reviews removed for various flimsy reasons.

HealthGrades Doing the Next Right Thing (Really)

Hope they are not removing mine!

Jenness Clairmont

Dear HealthGrades,

Shortly after I gave a negative rating for this provider, several more positive ratings were posted to improve the overall rating. There was no activity before that or since, until today when I thought I might try to rate her again, but then was told that filing a complaint with you might be a better way to keep the system useful. I suspect these ratings were artificially improved to undermine a very legitimate complaint that I have been trying to make against her. Is there any way you can remove ratings coming from the same IP which might have all been by her?

She is a member of the state licensing board (NYS DoE Office of Professions) that I complained to about her behavior at Samaritan Counseling Center. Her organization has had my Yelp reviews removed and Yelp account disabled. I have not been able to get a review of their organization to stick. They always find a way to undermine it.

Tom Gleason

Dear Tom Gleason,

Thank you for contacting Healthgrades.

Healthgrades appreciates your patience during the investigation process that you’ve requested. The resolution of this investigation is resulting removal of 4 surveys that did not meet Healthgrades business criteria on Jenness Clairmont’s profile. This will take up to 2 business days to update on our website.

Respectfully,

Mike | Healthgrades Support Team
Survey Compliance Analyst

Dear Tom Gleason,

Thank you for your interest in HealthGrades.com and for your suggestion.

HealthGrades is constantly researching additional data elements for inclusion within our site. Thank you again for your suggestion.

Thank you,

Michael | Healthgrades Support Team

David Olsen Throwing His Supervisee Under the Bus and Making it Difficult to Get My Damn Records

Mr Gleason:
As per regulations I need the request in writing with a signed release
Thank you

David,
Here is my written request, with the zip code corrected. :)
Please send me my records and a bill for them, and I’ll send you a check.
Tom

I don’t know what that means. Please explain. I’ve asked you for my records and provided my address. Here is my release. <----

Release Form – RocketLawyer

Mr Gleason:
I received your release. Unfortunately, you were never a patient of mine so if you want your record released for your sessions with Oona Edmands, please resend,
David Olsen

Oddly enough, I saw a statement saying that I was getting sessions from Jenness Clairmont.(I never did)

“OK, please send me Oona’s email address so that I can send her my release.”

Mr. Gleason,
You can send the letter to my attention but change the fact the records you are requesting was for your therapy with Oona.

Why am I not allowed to send the release to her?

I am not a patient of yours. Connect me with Oona please.

Who can I contact at Samaritan that is not you? You are deliberately trying to make my life difficult and I never did anything wrong in therapy. Send me the email of somebody else please.

Mr. Gleason,
As I have stated several times we will be happy to have your clinical record sent to you once I receive a letter (hard copy – not email) formally requesting your clinical record.
I will send you hard copy of this emai as well.

All correspondance must be by mail. I will not be responding to any further emails.

Apparently he’s never heard of Ctrl-P…
I faxed my request according to their requirements.

FYI, he would have rejected RocketLawyer’s document as well (after I went to the trouble of sending it snail mail), because my date of birth was required to be on the document. (Information that the Office Manager Debbie was willing to give. She also gave us a fax number so I didn’t have to find envelopes and stamps and a printer. Who the fuck uses a fax machine these days? But I figured it out with myfax.com ).

Check out this blast from the past, when I tried to get my complaint to all three of them (David Olsen, Jenness Clairmont, and Oona Edmands). David told me to send it only to him and that made my alarm go off:

Lastly, it has come to our attention that multiple copies of your letters were received by the center. One of which was not by use of the US Postal Service or any third party delivery system. I was apparent that the letter had been hand delivered to our satellite office in Delmar, NY. As a result, this letter is also being written to inform you that under no circumstances will any further personal contact with the center, its satellites or its personnel be allowable.

No, a client with a legitimate complaint cannot be banned from telling the organization’s members about what’s going on. That’s not a healthy boundary, David Olsen.