December 15, 2011 by Deanna James, LPC, CEDS in Announcements, Castlewood In the News, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Testimonials Editorial Response from a Former Castlewood Client to the writer of a St. Louis Post Dispatch article:
I am a former patient of Castlewood. I entered inpatient treatment when I was 16 years old for anorexia. I had a severe eating disorder that hit fast and hard. Had I not received treatment, I would have died. With that being said, I truly believe Castlewood is the reason I am alive and well today. I am currently a 19 year old sophomore. I attend Saint Louis University School of Nursing. I read your article about women accusing a therapist at Castlewood of implanting memories, etc. I appreciate that the article looked at both sides of the argument. But, I am absolutley disgusted by the allegations. Mark is an amazing therapist. My family and I worked directly with him for intense family therapy. Through working with him, my family made changes and resolved issues that would have torn us apart. He is very compassionate and cares deeply about the clients at Castlewood. Yes, I will admit, he is different and sort of "hippie like". But, that has absolutely nothing to do with his therapy or his credibility.
My therapist, Theresa Chestnut, is the most amazing therapist ever. She worked with me for about a year and was able to help me resolve past abuse issue that had a lot to do with my anorexia. What most people don't understand is that eating disorders are often caused by deeper issues. Many treatment centers simply treat the symptoms of eating disorders and do not address what is really causing them. For recovery to be successful, all areas must be addressed. I had experienced sexual abuse when I was younger. I, like many other patients who have experiences sexual abuse, feel shame and blame myself for what happened. I had never talked to anyone about the abuse I experienced before I went to Castlewood. With that being said, these ideas were in NO WAY put into my head. I was simply put into a compassionate, accepting environment that gave me an opportunity to talk about the abuse without being ashamed. I know that many patients have had similar experiences. Theresa used a therapy technique called IFS (internal family systems). This therapy was life changing. It never implied that I had different "personalities" or identities. This therapy simply helped me connect to parts of myself that I hadn't wanted to acknowledge. Through IFS, I was able to connect and understand things that happened when I was younger, as well as recent events, that were unresolved. Castlewood is not a place that "brainwashes" people or "cult like". It makes me extremley angry that allegations from a few women, that are unreliable, can out weigh all the good Castlewood does. The women that are accusing Mark of brainwashing them were VERY unstable and unreliable on many accounts. Along with that, Castlewood is not a treatment center focused on money. The therapy I received at Castlewood is PRICELESS because it saved my life. Although the $1,100 a day seems staggering, it really makes sense. That cost includes three meals a day, two snacks, a place to stay (in a beautiful area), around the clock nurses and staff, and on average about 8 hours of therapy a day. When you look at it in that perspective, Castlewood isn't very expensive. I never felt that I could not recover unless I "dedicated my life to Castlewood". I was a student in highschool. While I was in inpatient at Castlewood, I had to teach myself and do all of my school work on time. I still talked to my friends and saw my family weekly. Castlewood lets you keep your phone, computer, and able to talk to anyone you want. They don't cut you off from the world you live in. I just want people to understand that Castlewood is being unfairly represented. Eating disorders and mental health issues are something thay are widely misunderstood by the public. When a news article comes out like this, people who don't understand the severity and depth of eating disorders will get the wrong picture. They automatically jump to conclusions that the therapists and center are money hungry and scam artists. This is absolutely UNTRUE. Please, do not let the public stay uniformed about the reality of eating disorders. They are a SERIOUS issue and Castlewood does everything it can to help patients recover from their eating disorders. I would really like to hear back from you and I am willing to answer any questions you want.