I would really like Samaritan Counseling Center to tell me that they will not coerce people into the 12-step programs which landed me in psychiatric wards twice and nearly killed me, but the last I heard was from David Olsen on the phone saying it’s their right to a ‘preferred mode of treatment’, right before he and Jenness Clairmont wrote me a letter saying that ‘under no circumstances’ was I to have any further personal contact with anyone at Samaritan or its affiliates.
Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region‘s official position on 12-step coercion is that it is their right to do it. Unfortunately I was not informed about this until about a year into the therapy after I had developed an attachment to the therapist, which was then used as ‘leverage’. This is why I think their licenses should be reviewed and possibly revoked by the state of New York.
After deciding that I did not want to do AA, I was told I could speak to my therapist if I went to a $17,000 30-day rehab, which I could not afford and then went to an outpatient 12-step rehab where I found more AA at $265/1.5 hrs (group session and drug test). They told me not to worry about the money. Since I thought this was medical treatment, I paid for $700/month for health insurance, which 6 months later I found covered NOTHING of this. The rehab was kind enough to give me a 60% discount for self-pay, but that discount was discontinued during the year of 2014.
After requesting to speak with my therapist at $40/hr about 12-step coercion (I was willing to pay the $80/hr but was suddenly subsidized by a mysterious fund at Samaritan), I received a letter referring me to 12-step meetings and a 12-step interventionist at $110/hr (also self-pay only), saying that I may be able to speak with her if I complied.
After filing a thorough complaint about being more and more forcefully referred to 12-step meetings and a 12-step interventionist, they (David Olsen and Jenness Clairmont who is on the state licensing board) simply terminate-referred me back to the 12-step interventionist. I checked myself into Capital District Psychiatric Center where I was told by a doctor that I’m “fucked” and need AA. I told them I didn’t understand why I couldn’t discuss this, and they prescribed me anti-psychotics (I tried Geodon, Risperidone, Haldol, and Zyprexa) and $170/mo worth of Neurontin. But none of these medications helped me ‘get over’ what I thought was more of a systemic problem with the way I was being treated. If AA hadn’t depressed and confused the heck out of me, I would not have gone to therapy in the first place.
Both my therapist and the Clinical Director had expressed to me privately that they were not fond of the 12-step programs, but neither of them would explain to me why or why they then kept recommending it. Although, in my records, it is mentioned these things were done ‘under the direction of David Olsen’.
Yet, my records and correspondences show zero acknowledgement of my concerns or my complaint. In fact, they did not consider my complaints to be part of my records, which also makes no sense and eliminates the paper trail of my experiences.
James Garrett’s official position on 12-step coercion is in this book, which basically said coercion into treatment is the only thing that works. If you’re self-motivated when seeking treatment, you’re going to fail, according to James Garrett and Judith Landau. Now, to give him a little credit, after I got extremely mad at this he did say to me “Since you’ve been so honest with me, I’m going to be honest with you. AA doesn’t work for everybody”. I thought, well that would have been nice to have known about two years ago, thank you for letting me in on this ‘little secret’, because here I am thinking my only other options are jails, institutions and death, or complete abandonment by a therapist I trusted. I told him I wanted to tell my therapist about this, but she’d probably just keep referring people to AA. And he nodded. Then he told her to mark me down as Axis II (personality disorder).