More rehab moguls need to get sued.
Anti-AA books freely available on morerevealed.com
More Revealed by Ken Ragge
12-Step Horror Stories edited by Rebecca Fransway
Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment by Stanton Peele and Charles Bufe with Archie Brodsky
Saints Run Mad (1934 criticism of the Oxford Group) by Marjorie Harrison
check it out…
I blogged about this problem since Feb 2015. Here’s what I’ve learned:
– Samaritan Counseling Center will not formally acknowledge any problem with or complaint about 12-step referrals made directly after complaints about 12-step coercion.
– Therapists at Samaritan, other than the Executive Director, will privately acknowledge the problem, but records show that the official position is not what either the therapist or client would reasonably conclude.
– New York State will not formally acknowledge any problem with or complaint about 12-step coercion
– Complaints are removed from medical records
– Petitions are completely ignored
– NASW social work ethics codes do not apply to two-hatters
– Complaints are passed off as personality disorders or mental retardation.
I think there are other conclusions, but this is enough for now.
I like this essay because it explains a lot of the strange dynamics of AA that destroy relationships, in particular the shunning dynamic which I find personally very odd and hurtful and seems to be more common, than in secular life, when religious cults like AA get involved. It is inevitable when you have a closed belief system that cannot accept the value of others, which is why you see it a lot where cults are involved: disowning, excommunication, disconnection, disfellowshipping are the kinds of words used to disrespect people who do not have the same beliefs or act the way you want, and in AA it happens all the time.
It is justified by saying that it preserves the integrity of the organization or relationship, but on closer examination it is often those cutting off that are being abusive, or being abused. Think of what it means to get 13th stepped: Once you’ve served your purpose, you can be called an alcoholic who’s putting others’ ‘sobriety in jeopardy’. That’s a really unhealthy way to end a relationship with someone they felt the need to bang. It leaves the person feeling sexually toxic, when in reality the 13th stepper is just moving on to a new victim.
It’s also a way that cult leaders and narcissists use to cut others out of the lives they wish to control. It is not uncommon for an abusive guru to tell someone to give up family and friends.
Shunning almost always comes from an attitude of superiority and a deep need for control: “If you don’t live your life the way we say, you’re dead to us”. There are healthy adult ways to communicate and have boundaries, and then there are the fearful and coercive ways of destructive cults.
This is what David Olsen Executive Director of the non-profit Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region makes as a sex therapist. He can’t be bothered to discuss his use of 12-step coercion to silence complaints, though; in fact, this is strictly forbidden.
Yes, that’s $193K/year, and he as a state-licensed therapist, can’t address a complaint with anything other than “we have a right to our preferred mode of treatment”. Actually, I should say that he said my therapist had the right to HER preferred mode of treatment. But she seemed, to me, to be required to enforce 12-step treatment as part of her job. She and the Clinical Director Jenness Clairmont both privately told me they didn’t like 12-steps.
I suspect that Samaritan Counseling of the Capital Region is “under the influence” of a religious zealot.
It was like he was passing off the responsibility to others, after directing them. I have records showing this “under the direction of David Olsen”.
It’s like I’m talking to Kim Davis or something, except with sadistic 12-step sex therapists.
I had a WTF moment when I realized I was in Alcoholics Anonymous-only therapy at Samaritan Counseling. Basically, if you don’t think 12-step religion saved your life, you are dead to these people. I don’t think they should be licensed to practice by New York State. I am never allowed to speak to anyone at Samaritan Counseling Center ever again because I suggested Alcoholics Anonymous was not helpful to me. Something is a little weird here. I was denied my FOIL request and appeal about the investigation.
I’ve been asking to speak with Samaritan Counseling about this since December 2013, and they are refusing to speak with me because I made it clear that I don’t believe in God.
“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! 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.”