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Third woman sues Castlewood Treatment Center; alleges brainwashing

A third woman has sued Castlewood Treatment Center in west St. Louis County, saying she was brainwashed by staff members.

During a three-month stay at Castlewood to treat an eating disorder in 2010, Brooke Taylor of St. Louis was falsely led to believe she had been sexually abused and had multiple personalities, according to the suit filed earlier this month in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

"I like to use the word 'bully' when I refer to individuals that work there," Taylor said. "They make you believe that they have all the answers."

Leslie Thompson and Lisa Nasseff, both of Minnesota, previously sued Castlewood Treatment Center and psychologist Mark Schwartz with similar claims that the women developed false memories during therapy sessions for eating disorders.

A spokesman for the Castlewood Treatment Center released a statement calling the claims 'spurious."

"This lawsuit simply piggybacks on publicity generated by earlier false and outrageous allegations," reads the statement. "We will defend this case vigorously, confident that the facts will underscore Castlewood's professionalism and excellence in patient care."

More than 1,000 men and women have been treated at the Castlewood Treatment Cetner since it opened more than 10 years ago on a lush campus overlooking Castlewood State Park. The statement says the center specializes in "eating issues involving post-traumatic stress often caused by sexual abuse."

The facility is licensed for 26 residents as well as outpatient services. Castlewood's website lists the cost of residential treatment at $1,100 a day with an average stay of two to four months.

Many of its patients have failed to recover in other treatment settings, according to the statement.

Therapists at the Castlewood Treatment Center use a technique called internal family systems, where patients are encouraged to identify and work on the parts of themselves that are destructive, according to former patients and the facility's website.

Experts in eating disorders have said internal family systems is not the standard of care because of the mental vulnerability of patients who are malnourished or medicated.

According to Taylor's lawsuit, while at Castlewood, staff members persuaded her "to become increasingly isolated from her family by leading her to believe that a family member had been and would continue to sexually abuse her and force her to engage in horrific acts of abuse."

Taylor's lawsuit also includes claims that she was overmedicated and hypnotized by Castlewood staff.

"A lot of demons were put in my head," she said. > 314-340-8129

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