The Need to Cut Through Deep Professional Shame

“In the end, the antidote for shame is acceptance and grace.
This takes a great deal of courage and trust, but it is the only way through shame. Is it a short-term process? Absolutely not. Long-term committed relationships are the best antidote for shame if we are willing to take the risk of removing the “fig leaves” of defense mechanisms, and begin to reveal more of who we really are.” – David Olsen

“You need to cut through this” — Therapist, Samaritan Counseling LCSW

“I will not be returning phone calls” — Therapist, Samaritan Counseling LCSW

“I will not be responding to any further emails.” — David Olsen, Executive Director

“I will not be responding to any more of your emails.” — Michael Kinley, NYS Supervising Investigator



The ARISE Intervention: The “Leverage” and “Consequences” Technique of 12-Step Coercion (AKA Extortion)

The ARISE Intervention! He must get kickbacks or something. (here’s a link about getting paid for fake drug tests)..telling people’s friends/family/therapists they need to extort someone into expensive rehab treatments and that they will fall prey to the ‘disease’ if they don’t go to treatment. I went around that block a few times…

By the way, the “-R” in LCSW-R means “the worker is approved by the New York State Insurance Department to bill health insurance companies for psychotherapy services.”

This is Samaritan Counseling’s preferred mode of treatment:

“Coercion, persuasion and mandated conditions are long held and practical referral components of substance abuse treatment. All are designed to work with a system that the substance abusers have contact with, that has some meaning in their lives, that has some leverage to motivate change and that has the potential for consequences.

“We now accept the importance of Employee Assistance Programs, Drug Courts, and Impaired Professionals Programs as successful vehicles for getting addicted individuals started in recovery.

“None of these vehicles start with the premise that the individual must want help in order to start treatment. We believe that families are another vehicle to get an individual started in recovery. Families have a long-standing relationship with the addicted individual and are invested in helping that individual get well.”

They go on to say:

“the lowest rates of successful treatment completion are with voluntary, self-referrals. These individuals might start treatment with earnest motivation and desire to stop using, but without any accountability to the treatment system those individuals fall prey to the cunning, baffling and powerful messages from the disease of addiction. The disease tells them that they are better now, they don’t need treatment and that they can use again as long as it doesn’t get out of control.”

Maybe self-motivated people don’t want to be told they are powerless, insane, selfish, defective, and dishonest for being self-motivated. Hmm?

This is the same guy who told me not to file a complaint; just write it out as a sort of catharsis. And that my drinking damaged the relationship with my therapist. He told her to label me as Axis II and keep a clear boundary with me (no contact) as I tried to complain about 12-step coercion. Convenient isolation and devaluation tactics .

I wonder how many suicides these people have blamed on this ‘spiritual disease’ of not accepting 12-step coercion. You’d probably never know, because they delete and hide that kind of feedback wherever they can.

Against State Licensing of Faith Healing

If the the New York State Department of Education is not going to educate or enforce ethics codes on its licensed mental health workers, they need to inform the public better about what it means to be a ‘licensed professional’.

Because I honestly thought it meant that if a state licensed professional was in major violation of ethics, there would be corrective actions taken by the state.

That’s not what it means, though.

But the ILLUSION that professionals would have been held accountable if they had done anything wrong protects and prolongs all kinds of abuse, like the kind I experienced at Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region.

This is why you can end up getting more humane treatment from an unlicensed faith healer than a licensed one.

Sober Living Homes – Fraud, not ‘treatment’

Can you believe one of the ‘treatments’ I was suggested was to go to a sober living home?

Licensed clinical social workers either don’t know what’s going on, or they are in on the scam.

Sober living facilities are private, unregulated homes run basically by slumlords with a head full of AA. When every ‘addict’ you can pack into a bedroom equals money, guess what happens?

Presented as ‘treatment’ because that allows them to avoid paying taxes; usually not staffed by any social worker or medical doctor.

How it Works – Alcoholics Anonymous and Professionals

AA refers you to rehab. Rehab refers you to AA. It’s a closed loop system with (seemingly) no way out if it doesn’t help, which will in fact lead (as they predict) to jails, institutions, and death. The way to solve this problem is for two-hatters to face their problem and get honest.

This can be effectively motivated by legal and consumer interventions. I recommend the Invitational Intervention, a gradually-escalating process that leads your two-hatter into appropriate professional ethics. The two-hatter is invited to join the process right from the beginning with no surprises, no secrets, no coercion, and absolute respect and love. This involves:

Stage One the “First Call”: politely asking the licensed clinical social worker to stop referring you to 12-step, because counseling is about your mental health, not their religion.

Stage Two “Strength in Numbers”: Gather like-minded consumers to petition the two-hatter counselors to reconsider their business practices, and make sure that none of the two-hatters’ condescending communications are kept ‘confidential’.

Stage Three “The Formal Intervention”: Serious consequences are put in place if the two-hatters do not address their 12-step problem by Stage Two. File complaints to the licensing boards, the Department of Health and Human Services, and consider litigation based on civil rights violations, suppression of informed consent, professional conflict of interest, and willful negligence.

If this strategy works as well as the “ARISE” Intervention it is based on, 83% of two-hatters still in practice by Stage Three will have become agreeable to stopping their nonsense when asked to, and %61 percent of them will completely abstain from mentioning AA in practice ever again.

Here is some more information about how it works and why it needs to stop:


This means that more than half the people (63%) now in AA initially sought real help, then most of them were referred to AA.

It also says that 62% sought professional help AFTER going to AA (meaning they felt AA did not help them, or AA had referred them to ‘rehab’, where they were given more AA for outrageous fees)

29% percent of people introduced to AA were ‘self-motivated’…they just suddenly thought that a weird cult would help them, out of nowhere.

Treatment Committees




Another underwhelming response after going to great lengths

I got a letter today from Samaritan Counseling.

David Olsen sent me a letter. It happens to be dated on the day I emailed asking for the address of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (8-20-15) (click here to file complaint through a simple form). I learned about the Department of Health and Human Services through Samaritan Counseling Center’s PDF on Privacy Practices. I was concerned about HIPAA violations after reading here that ‘Legal: ​Any email exchange between you and your therapist become a part of your Legal Clinical Record.’

This was after a full month of him and his staff not responding to my e-mails about their seemingly incomplete second copy of records.

The letter explained that my complaints are not “technically” a part of my medical record, and if I’d like copies of those, I could get them for .75 cents per page.

His letter included a copy of:

– the letter I received from my therapist in Spring of 2014 referring me to 12-step meetings, a day after I called and asked her NOT to refer me to 12-step meetings.

– his and Jenness Clairmont’s termination letter referring me to a 12-step interventionist and forbidding me to have any contact with anyone at Samaritan Counseling Center directly after receiving my complaint about 12-step coercion and a strong request to discuss the matter

He said “that demonstrates our ongoing attempt to respond to your questions and concerns”.




A better response:

would have been “I received Silver Damsen’s letter (below), and it’s interesting that you have 100+ signatures on a petition asking health workers to take a look at systemic problems with Alcoholics Anonymous. Let’s have a discussion about this.”


Dept. of Health and Human Services Complaint Form

“Thank you for filing a complaint via the website of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services. This is an automated response to acknowledge receipt of your complaint. Your complaint will be assigned to an OCR staff member for review and appropriate action. If OCR has any questions about the complaint you submitted, we will contact you directly. Otherwise, you will receive a written response indicating whether or not OCR has accepted your complaint for investigation.”

Online Complaint form for US Department of Health and Human Services