Castlewood Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

Happy Anniversary Castlewood

This month Castlewood Treatment Center for eating disorders celebrates its 13th Anniversary. Nancy Albus, Castlewood CEO shared “although much has changed since Castlewood first opened its doors: new faces, new buildings, additions to the clinical program, much has stayed the same, such as the strong therapeutic environment. We celebrate Castlewood's anniversary this April and will continue to grow and improve our treatment and services in order to pursue our vision to be a national center of excellence that helps foster recovery.” As we take a look back over our experience treating thousands of clients with eating disorders, a few staff members took the time to share their favorite thoughts and memories about Castlewood. Samantha Young, Assistant Program Director Monarch Cove had this to say about her years with Castlewood: “It has been my privilege and honor to work at Castlewood since 2002 and be a part of the healing and compassionate work that Castlewood strives for.  I have many fond memories from my years here.  Some that stand out are:  a mud volleyball game that was a part of a staff get together.  There are some very serious volleyball players as part of the staff and this combined with a lot of mud and pouring down rain made for a very memorable game where we all were covered in mud and then some and had a fantastic game despite the not so favorable weather conditions.  Not to be outdone by mud, there were also some very intense water volleyball games with clients and staff that promoted fun while also challenging body image and fears around being in the pool.  With Castlewood being such a homelike, small environment there were many memorable interactions between clients and staff which included elaborate talent shows where our very talented clients were able to showcase their skills.  Also memorable  were the very unique and absolutely on target treatment plans that the clients one day decided to develop for each staff member outlining their strengths and goals that they might need to work on.  There are many other moments like this that stand out while getting to be a part of such a healing and compassionate organization.  Many congratulations and Happy Anniversary Castlewood!” Deanna James- Director of Media Relations shared: “Some of my favorite memories involving Castlewood surround snow storms. Watching the staff all come together to get clients and staff up and down the treacherous hill, staff spending the night to insure that clients have adequate support while other staff are stranded, and personally driving many staff members into Castlewood myself. It was always fun to have group therapy around the big fire place at Castlewood I and watch the snow fall. “ Mike Dillon- Facilities and Grounds Manager Castlewood I shared this: “My favorite times working at Castlewood Treatment have surrounded ‘Van Therapy’. Remember to take your car down and lift your spirit up.” Mike escorts clients and staff up and down the hill at Castlewood I due to parking limitations and always provides great conversation, uplifting music, and our clients share that his positive attitude and zest for life have helped many of them when they needed an attitude adjustment. Vanessa Curran- Research Coordinator shared: "I remember my first day working here pretty clearly... everyone was so helpful, kind and welcoming. I was completely BLOWN AWAY when I stepped into my first group. The intelligence and insight of the clients was unlike anything I've ever experienced before! One of the things that makes Castlewood special is that there isn't one staff member here who doesn't truly care about the clients we serve. I believe that genuine concern is felt by our clients and aids in their recovery process." Dayna Rabbit- Direct Care Counselor shared: “One of my top reasons I enjoy working at Castlewood is the friendships and team players that have developed between the co-workers. I have had the privilege to work with some of the best staff in the St. Louis area. A very neat experience for me is to be able to work with coworkers and be able to grow as individuals and in the workforce. There is a time and place for everything: there are times we laugh, cry, and support our clients. Side by side we tag team support for a client, using different techniques, supporting clients in their exposures, driving them on outings, or taking them to AA. These memories from 2012 in my first year with Castlewood laid a foundation for not only my self-growth but how I’m called to serve. Thanks to my amazing peers that have trained me in direct care and who have now moved on to fulfill other rolls within the Castlewood walls. Thanks intake, awesome treatment team, supervisors, and clinical staff... And the super duper awesome direct care staff I work with now! Every one of you is a unique, special, talented, individual who rocks and helps keep the foundation of this ‘Castle’ together.”


Over the past 13 years, Castlewood has developed from a small ten bed facility, into three thriving residential homes, two in St. Louis and one in Pacific Grove, California. We also have a Day Treatment house on the property of Castlewood II, Step Down apartments in St. Louis and Pacific Grove, Intensive Outpatient Programs and 150 staff members.  In the midst of the expansion we continue to offer a small well-chosen therapeutic community. We have hired additional experienced staff and divided group therapy and meals into smaller groups to provide individual attention. We continue to meet as a treatment team weekly at our residential facilities to collaborate among therapists, psychiatrists, clinical directors, and dietitians to develop detailed individualized treatment plans for each client. Our clients continue to receive six weekly individual sessions- four with the primary therapist, one with our psychiatrist, and one with the dietitian. This growth has allowed our staff to cultivate sub-specialties in Binge Eating Disorder, Body Dysmorphia, various expressive therapies, attachment based psychotherapy, mindfulness techniques, DBT, EMDR, and trauma resolution therapies. We are now able to provide comprehensive treatment not just for the eating disorder, but for co-occurring anxiety disorders, OCD, and PTSD. The growth has allowed us to hire staff that has certifications and specialties in the treatment of Anxiety, OCD, trauma and substance abuse. They have incorporated new assessment tools, exposure and response prevention protocols, as well as individual and group therapy designed specifically for these areas. Castlewood also offers an alumni program including 6 months of monitoring, post discharge check-in visits, and alumni community website and alumni weekends. We are providing more comprehensive discharge planning and follow up care than ever before! Last year we announced our stabilization track-This clinical track is designed for clients who admit to our Residential Program and need increased focus on eating disorder or self-harm symptom stabilization or who require stabilization of PTSD symptoms before they can fully take advantage of our regular programming. This track is also available for clients who are struggling with relapsing symptoms after admission into Step Down or Day Treatment levels of care. Castlewood provides FREE housing for both of our PHP programs- Day Treatment and Step Down. Clients with no residential insurance benefits and who do not need overnight supervision, can come to Castlewood, participate in our full day treatment program and have free housing just up the hill from Castlewood II in our new Day Treatment House. Clients who complete our residential program and need transitional living while they practice new life skills, and continue in therapy in our step down program can live in our step down apartments. Castlewood looks forward to the future and the development of our programs and services in order to meet our mission and offer comprehensive, individualized treatment designed to treat eating disorders in addition to other co-occurring issues, with an emphasis on compassion, respect, and empowerment.