The Treatment Samaritan Counseling / Samaritan Institute Believes in

It’s hard to understand why Samaritan Counseling believes this is the best treatment, and why their accrediting organization Samaritan Institute also does not seem to see any need to address the issue. I’d think most state-licensed mental health professionals would/should see a serious problem with this.

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David Olsen, PhD. of Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region has not addressed any of my concerns, since he just kept referring me again and again to AA, (he also told my therapist that I was a bullshitter, taking her for a ride, and was a ticking time bomb) and he never met with me to address my complaint, other than a brief phone call telling me it’s my therapist’s right to her preferred mode of treatment. Apparently Oona Edmands LCSW is obsessed with the 12-steps, or it’s her job to participate in coercive interventions to get 12-steppers paid regardless of feedback from the client.

The one session I had with David Olsen was him telling me I needed to go to inpatient rehab and be ‘in recovery (which is code for being an AA member)’ if I wanted to discuss anything of this my therapist. Over the course of many months, she seemed to agree to discuss it with me during several times that I asked for a discussion, but then changed her mind after talking to the interventionist James Garrett or her supervisor David Olsen. My last correspondence with him sent me two prior 12-step referrals and told me my complaints are not ‘technically’ a part of my clinical record.

Jenness Clairmont the Clinical Director (now in private practice as Forest Clinical Services), is on the New York State Office of Professions who manage licensing of therapists, and officially see nothing wrong with 12-step rehab coercion according to two State Education Department Investigators). She also refused to address any of my concerns; she simply re-referred me to the 12-step interventionst and banned me from any future communications with any Samaritan employee. I don’t see how that’s clinically addressing anything.

The weirdest thing was that I couldn’t even post a Yelp review about this. Yelp repeatedly told me that my review had some kind of problem with it, brought to their attention by ‘community request’.

The last I heard from James Garrett, the creator of the coercive ARISE intervention method which is in wide use by 12-step rehabs, was that he told my therapist to keep clear boundaries with me (ironically right after I told him I wanted to file a complaint) and he ‘confirmed’ I’m Axis 2 (personality disorders/mentally retarded) for wanting to tell her what he does (coercive rehab referrals).

For some reason, after 6 months of James Garrett advising everyone to keep ignoring my complaints about his 12-step ‘treatment’, David Olsen, Jenness Clairmont and Oona Edmands all seemed to find it surprising and sad that I had no intention of paying him another dime. They had lost me. There was absolutely nothing they could do to help me see that I was crazy for thinking 12-step rehab is a big fraud.

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Straight Incorporated

Why is the New York State Office of Professions not acknowledging any problem with the 12-step programs and 12-step referrals? I think not wanting to be involved with two-hatters is more than just a personal matter between therapist and client, as NYS Office of Professions Supervising Investigator Michael Kinley tried to tell me. I think it’s a big systemic problem and a lot of people are flat out lying about what they do and censoring the truth.

I should have sent these letters to the supervising investigator. I can only do so much.

Straight Inc letters

Straight, Inc.

I also don’t understand why my Yelp accounts would be removed just because I said I don’t like that Samaritan pushes 12-step programs, which they DO and that’s just a fact.

This is not what I expected from faith-based counseling.

Another letter against 12-step coercion

I didn’t go into therapy thinking there was anything wrong with AA. I spent a full year trying to understand what was wrong with me instead. When I decided for sure that AA wasn’t for me, that’s when I really started to realize that that was not an acceptable conclusion for Samaritan Counseling. By the way, my ‘treatment’ was all voluntary, until it wasn’t. Here is a letter I wrote for a friend who has given up her nursing license because of the EAP program that repeatedly demanded 12-step participation.

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Everyone is an Alcoholic According to AA

So what should everyone do? According to AA, they should admit they are powerless and turn their will and their lives over to God. And according to AA, “God” can mean anything you want, but eventually you will find it means the rehab industry where you can pay $1000/day to hear that you are insane, selfish, defective, and dishonest again. And if that doesn’t help you, according to AA, you can do it again until you come to believe, or get it through your thick skull, that rehab saved your life and tell everyone else they need rehab too.

According to AA, you’re also an alcoholic if you know an alcoholic. And if you can’t convince them of that, according to the 12-step cult, you can ask them if they ever gambled too much or thought about sex a lot, or had emotional issues, or don’t earn enough, or work too much, to convince them they need some serious help.

13th Step the Film Available on DVD

This is the film I’ve been posting about for almost a year now available on DVD. It was Monica Richardson’s three year effort, and in that process we’ve all learned a lot about the real AA. It’s far from the ideal program the public knows. It’s more like a destructive cult business that has little or nothing to do with alcohol treatment.
After she saw people get murdered by violent people repeatedly sentenced to AA as plea deals who had learned how to speak the AA language and appear to be wise old-timers, she (a member for 35 years) tried to get AA to provide safety guidelines to its members letting them know that members do not have to ‘maintain the anonymity’ of another person if they see a problem.

This was a simple request. AA world headquarters chose to ignore it as if it was an irrational resentment that disturbed their serenity.
Actually, it’s becoming clear that they ignored that simple request because it would open a huge can of worms. Since then she’s interviewed hundreds of people who were harassed or financially scammed or abused by people or professionals in AA who had learned through AA how to ‘blame the victim’, and uncovered the fraud inherent in the 12-step rehab industry.

Now AA is getting sued, and they are getting exposed here, just like the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The film contains some disturbing material, but it is all true, and important to watch because it is enlightening. I hope everybody buys a copy.

The 13th Step available on DVD!

Spiritual Abuse and Spiritual Bullies in Alcoholics Anonymous?

This is a great article because it describes how a cult in upstate New York ended up beating a kid and killing his brother over the fact that they wanted to leave the church. They were subjected to abusive ‘spiritual counseling’ because the cult in their narrow-mindedness could not comprehend why someone would want freedom from a belief system they found unsuitable. The author makes great connections between the spiritual abuse in AA and the press that AA should be getting for promoting spiritual bullying that leads to excusing abuse by its members and often causes suicide.

Cults thrive on lies and secrecy.

Spiritual Abuse and Spiritual Bullies in Alcoholics Anonymous?

What Anti-Psychotic Drugs Did to Me

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After being terminated by Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region for not wanting to go to AA or any more 12-step rehab, I went to a psychiatric hospital. They gave me anti-psychotic drugs (Geodon, Risperdal, Haldol, Zyprexa) to ‘help me stop obsessing about it’. The doctor who prescribed me these drugs told me “You’re fucked, and you need AA, man” (nevermind the fact that I had been in AA daily for a year and a half).

Then I woke up one day to find my eyes looking like this. It was really horrifying, and it made me start to wonder why someone would be given anti-psychotic drugs just because they don’t want to have to pay $17,000 to become an Oxford-Group-style Protestant Christian in order to talk to a therapist. My therapist who pushed me into AA for over a year, David Olsen (the Executive Director of Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region), and the Clinical Director (who is on the NYS Office of Professions) will not acknowledge this at all. I later found that the extreme shakiness and flickery vision I was feeling is called drug-induced Parkinsonism.

These anti-psychotic, anti-schizophrenic drugs are used as ‘mood stabilizers’, like lithium. They are also known as “neuroleptics”, or “major tranquilizers”. I was given Haldol, Zyprexa, Geodon, and Risperdal to help me stop obsessing about the fact that the state-licensed therapists at Samaritan Counseling do not acknowledge that most people do not benefit from going to Alcoholics Anonymous and constantly stating that they are powerless, insane, selfish, defective, and dishonest.

To me, it’s clear that there is a pattern of treating people who don’t find AA helpful as if they are insane. This is evidenced by vague “Axis 2″ diagnoses, social shunning (refusal to discuss the matter), and here most clearly, prescribing anti-psychotic drugs.

Letters and Petition Sent to NASW-NY, NYS EDUCATION COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SAMARITAN INSTITUTE

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We have over 140 complaint notes, petition signatures, and letters asking health workers to acknowledge the problems with 12-step coercion in therapy, the rehab industry, and Alcoholics Anonymous itself as the ‘preferred mode of treatment’. It has proven all too often to cause psychological damage. Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region has not acknowledged any of this. The worst part is that there is seemingly no way to complain about it, which reinforces a sense of powerlessness and is actually part of the 12-step so-called treatment. The tactic of ‘professionals who are also members of Alcoholics Anonymous’, also known as ‘two-hatters‘ is to go silent and refuse to respond, much like AA itself tried to do in response to requests for safety guidelines and transparency about third-level sex offenders being plea-dealed to the meetings, the same meetings where honest people are unknowingly sent after paying big money to rehabs for ‘treatment’. A recent lawsuit brings the problems into legal focus.


Petition to Health Workers and Academics About Alcoholics Anonymous (148 current signatures and comments)


Here are the letters we sent, and we will send these, and more, to more and more government agencies, law firms, and health workers until this is resolved completely.

Check out, especially, the admission to 4 days of drinking that led to 3 more YEARS of “monitoring” for a nurse who is mandated to AA to keep her license.


Here’s a very brief description of the case this blog is based on (by me):
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Here is a letter explaining the legal issues with Samaritan Counseling coercing AA attendance:
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Here is a letter from a Pilot whose license been terminated because he voluntarily entered into the HIMS program and found no real help, but a lot of bills:
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Here is a letter from a woman who has pinpointed AA as a retraumatizing influence:
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Here is a letter from a nurse being extorted into AA to keep her medical license:
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Here is a letter from someone who found AA completely incompatible with his religion and it took him 13 years to escape the AA ‘treatment’ system.
Full PDF
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Here is a letter by a woman who found 12-step rehab unhelpful and made her suicidal, and like me, she feels compelled to tell about it:
“Didn’t have the right God”


Here is a letter from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran who found AA worsened her PTSD:
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Here is a letter from someone who, like me, found it impossible to complain about the abusive treatment he was getting (ARISE Intervention):
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Here is another example of the AA extortion contracts that have been revealed in the HIMS program, Physicians Health Programs, and in therapeutic contexts (this last link is to a book about the emotional extortionist method devised and promoted by my own ARISE interventionist and related to one letter above).

Check out, especially, the admission to 4 days of drinking that led to 3 more YEARS of “monitoring” (meaning any positive test would result in ‘consequences’)
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Here is a letter that Silver Damsen sent to Samaritan Counseling requesting to have a discussion, including my signature. It was completely ignored.
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Here is a letter from someone who grew up with the 12-steps and saw disaster all around him, and started connecting the dots:
Growing Up In a 12-step home (PDF)


140 petition signatures and letters like this should not be ignored. There are more, and the complaints will continue to be collected, sent, and documented.

Here is the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights’ response.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Occupational Licensing

The first wave of lawsuits was against mandated AA. This continues.

The next wave is coercion within the professions, as seen started here, and with the Physician’s Health Programs, and EAPs.

And that will prepare for the third wave of lawsuits for coerced AA by two-hatters in state-licensed therapy and health services.

And it will happen. Many hospitals have already changed their ways based on science.

But so-called ‘faith-based’ places like Samaritan Counseling are the ones who will get sued eventually.

Washington Post