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Former Patient: St. Louis Eating Disorder Clinic like a Cult

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On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, December 12, 2011

In our Dec. 6 blog post, we discussed a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against a St. Louis County in-patient psychiatric clinic. The plaintiff in the suit is accusing Castlewood Treatment Center’s psychologist of brainwashing her into believing that she once belonged to a satanic cult and was sexually abused as a child. Now other former patients are coming forward to confirm the plaintiff’s account of the psychologist’s therapy, which allegedly involved “recovery” of false memories under hypnosis in order to create a dependence on the clinic.

Like the plaintiff, another former patient, a 31-year-old woman, was told in therapy sessions that she had been sexually abused as a child. Sexual abuse was a common topic in group therapy sessions, the former patient recalled. She described the confusion and doubts about her childhood the psychologist planted as emotionally damaging.

Another woman who lived at Castlewood for several months said she believed in the treatment until the plaintiff left. The psychologist told the other patients that the plaintiff had gone back to her cult. But the patient started noticing strange behavior that made her think that Castlewood was something like a cult. Patients would suddenly convulse and scream, which was supposed to be a flashback to an abuse incident. Multiple patients said they would die if they ever left.

In a 1996 book, the psychologist explained some of his theories behind treating eating disorders. He claimed that experts who are dubious of recovered memories were in denial about how common sexual abuse is. He was convinced that incestuous abuse is going on all around us.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Other women come forward in Castlewood center complaint,” Blythe Bernhard, Dec. 10, 2011


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