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Freedom of Information Law

I’m hoping to get some insight on why New York State Department of Education thinks mishandled transference and 12-step religious coercion by their licensed social workers is not a matter within their jurisdiction.

“Dear Mr. Gleason:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for State Education Department (SED) records regarding Samaritan Counseling Center. The reference number for this request is FL-OP-2015/496. Please be advised that you will hear further from the Department by approximately September 11, 2015 as to whether your request will be granted or denied in whole or in part.

SED charges the statutorily permitted fee of $.25 per page for duplication of records requested under FOIL (Public Officers Law §87[1][b][iii]). There is no provision in law or regulation requiring the waiver of this fee. Payment must be made to the NYS Education Department by check or money order. Do not send any payment until you are notified that your request is granted and informed of the charge for your request. If your request is for electronic records and your request is granted, the records will be provided to you in that format.

If your request is granted one of the following will happen:

1. If your request can be filled immediately, and the total duplication fee is under $25.00, staff will forward the requested records to you with a statement of what you owe for the duplication fee. Or:

2. If the total duplication fee for your request is $25.00 or more (100 pages), you will be advised of the page count and duplication fee owed in advance of duplicating the records. Upon receipt of payment, staff will duplicate and mail the requested records. Or:

3. If it will take time to locate and/or duplicate the records you have requested, you will be given a date by which you will be told the page count and duplication fee for your request.

Regards,

Records Access Officer”

Antipsychotics prescribed for wanting to discuss Alcoholics Anonymous Coercion

Last year I was at work and my boss announced that Robin Williams had committed suicide. I knew a bit about Robin Williams’ because I had heard him talk about AA a lot and use a lot of the AA jargon I knew a lot about after attending meetings for two years and going through the rehab racket myself. I was at the time on antipsychotic/antischizophrenic drugs, like Robin Williams. These drugs are routinely prescribed to people in rehabs and psychiatric wards off-label as ‘mood stabilizers’, and they were prescribed to me to ‘help me stop obsessing’ about the systemic problems of AA that I was not allowed to discuss with any LCSW I knew in NYS. These drugs also are known to cause ‘drug-induced Parkinsonism’ which is symptomatically indistinguishable from Parkinson’s disease. They cause flickered vision, involuntary shaking, in my experience. I told my boss that I knew why he killed himself. “Too much AA”. Why did I think this? Because I was seriously considering suicide myself.

It was no surprise to me that Robin Williams had recently been to rehab at Hazelden (a twelve step rehab), went to an AA meeting after getting out, and then killed himself. It wasn’t surprising to me because 12-step rehab made me want to kill myself. It’s not funny. He wasn’t dishonest, defective, insane, powerless, or selfish. But that’s what they told him he was.

More Letters that Samaritan Counseling Chooses to Ignore

I am addressing this to the HIPAA compliance officer, David Olsen Executive Director, my former therapist, and also Jenness Clairmont the Clinical Director at the time.

I am asking you for a meaningful response to my complaint about 12-step coercion on notpowerless.com and your apparent portrayal of me as being not worth speaking to for various reasons (I didn’t use a stamp, I have a ‘personality disorder’, I drank alcohol, my complaint letter about the harmfulness of ‘addiction treatment’ was somehow ‘harassment’, etc).

I am also asking you for my records.

If James Garrett has not shared his records with you as I requested, I am happy to share them with you so that I can have the discussion with XXXX as agreed upon a year and a half ago. I know it took me a few $110 meetings and I was talked out of getting my records from him several times. When I did finally get them from him, it was apparent that there was significant miscommunication going on between you and him about the nature of his services and agreements made.

My intention was to escape ‘addiction treatment’, not to be referred back to it again and again. This lack of response landed me in a psychiatric ward where I was given anti-psychotics to ‘help me stop obsessing about it’ and was told that I somehow broke boundaries with my therapist (asking me questions like “oh, you touched her?”) I am insulted and disgusted by your treatment of me. I did nothing wrong in therapy except open my heart to be told I’m defective and insane.

Hello,

I have not received any response to this so I am attempting to contact anyone I can at Samaritan and Samaritan Institute Centers country-wide. This is not a personal contact (as I was banned from any personal contact with anyone at the center or its affiliates – I assume this means any Samaritan Institute accredited agency – by David Olsen and Jenness Clairmont after not using a stamp to deliver my letter of concern). This is a sincere business inquiry regarding my concerns about HIPAA violations, censorship, and 12-step coercion. I release my records to anyone who receives this e-mail, because I actually want to discuss this and think that you have a fiduciary responsibility to not censor my feedback.

Was there some administration error that explains why my complaints were removed from my records?

Is 12-step coercion your policy alone or is that something across the board with Samaritan Institute accredited Samaritan Counseling Centers? If so, you should let clients know that before they spend a year thinking that they may have had a choice about it, so that they can provide informed consent. Also, you should address a complaint about 12-step coercion because if you don’t, it leaves the client wondering why you don’t care about the effects of this kind of ‘treatment’.

Proper follow-up to a complaint about 12-step coercion is not termination-referral to a 12-step interventionist.

Please give me a call or e-mail and we can discuss this serious problem.

You can see my website notpowerless.com for more information about this case.

Again, I release my records to anyone who receives this e-mail, and would like to discuss them with someone at Samaritan Counseling. I can provide copies of my complaint letters if they have been discarded before or after the NYS Office of Professions investigation.

Looking forward to your response,

Tom

I have not received any response to this. Please explain why my complaints were removed from my records.