A Minnesota woman is suing her Ballwin eating-disorder clinic and its director for giving her hypnosis treatment and psychotropic drugs that caused her to believe she was the victim of multiple rapes and a member of a satanic cult that sacrificed babies.
The hypnosis and drugs that Castlewood Treatment Center provided to Lisa Nasseff also caused her to slip into at least twenty different personalities and induced her into thinking she'd been the victim of satanic abuse herself, according to the malpractice complaint recently filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County.
According to the complaint, Nasseff's psychologist and hypnotist, Mark Schwartz, who is also the director of the clinic, singled her out based partly on her ability to pay for long-term continuous inpatient services, which she called "intentional and reckless."
Nasseff alleges that Schwartz called her last fall and told her if she didn't return to the clinic for more counseling and treatment she would most assuredly die from her eating disorder. She claims that when Schwartz learned that a lawsuit was possible, he left Nasseff a threatening voicemail suggesting that the suit would re-trigger her memories of satanic ritual abuse, multiple rapes and membership in a satanic cult, which, in turn, would cause more mental suffering.
We left a voicemail message for Schwartz and will update this post if he calls back. The Castlewood website says Schwartz is a licensed psychologist who earned his doctorate in psychology and mental health from Johns Hopkins University and is an adjunct professor in the psychiatry department at St. Louis University School of Medicine. It also says Schwartz has achieved international recognition for his treatment of intimacy disorders, marital and sexual dysfunction, sexual compulsivity, sexual trauma and eating disorders.
Nasseff, who says she was treated from 2007 to 2009, is suing the clinic and Schwartz on four counts, claiming she was forced to spend about $650,000 on Castlewood's faulty services, which led to numerous hospitalizations.
Photographs of the center, located on the bluffs surrounding Castlewood State Park, depict a idyllic retreat house flanked by bucolic trails, trees and flowers.
We left a message for Nasseff's lawyer, Kenneth Vulsteke, who was quoted in a recent article in Missouri Lawyers Media, accusing Schwartz of intentionally stirring up false memories in Nasseff because he knew she'd keep paying for his services.
"You're creating a confused mind, a vulnerable mind, and then either accidentally or, as we allege, perhaps on purpose people are led to believe these horrible things happened," Vuylsteke said. For example, "you may have participated in the sacrifice of a baby to Satan, then you were brainwashed to forget it by the cult, and you can't believe you've done such a thing so you repress it somehow."
Although the complaint does not mention baby sacrificing, Vuylsteke told a reporter for Courthouse News Service that sacrificing babies was a part of Nasseff's false memories.