Many of our former client’s and their families have written editorial responses to recent media involving Castlewood. Below are these editorials:
I just read about the latest lawsuit on Castlewood’s web site. I was moved by these lines, excerpted from Castlewood’s published response:
“…all options had run out and have sought and received treatment for anorexia and bulimia at Castlewood…Further testament to Castlewood’s professionalism is the fact that other treatment centers look to it as a beacon of hope for their most severe cases when they are unable to treat those patients.”
This is my experience to the “T.” No one has been able to help me before. I WAS out of options, and my time was running out. And I wasn’t entirely certain that I even cared. But I gave it a shot. I figured I had little left to lose at that point. Now, I am fighting to stay here, and I have to admit I resent that people who were fortunate to have insurance that allowed them to stay here subsequently turned around and stabbed the people here in the back. Having come to know the staff here, I see how they pour their hearts and souls into the work they do. I have never experienced the kind of care and compassion that I have witnessed here. I never knew there were people in the world who were interested in listening to me and understanding me, who weren’t using me for their own gain, and who were curious about where my struggles and thought processes came from and sought to truly understand me, not merely to construct assumptions or judgments about me.
No other treatment center would have been so generous – and downright altruistic – to have allowed me to stay during my insurance appeal for months, with no way of predicting whether they would be reimbursed. I am monopolizing a bed that would have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Castlewood. So I am sure you can understand how disconcerting and confusing it is for me to hear that this place is financially motivated. Any other treatment center would have had me out the door the second my insurance cut. But you guys actually see me as a real person and appear (often to my befuddlement) committed to helping me to build a life I never had a chance to have. As far as I can tell, there is no ulterior motive – and believe me, I have searched for it. I’ve got an eye for that kind of thing. It is mind-boggling that there are humans out there like the people who work at Castlewood. Perhaps for some of those who question motives and such, it is because the kindness and care and compassion so prominent here are so utterly and bafflingly new to us. I know the feeling. It just doesn’t seem right. There’s got to be a reason and it has got to involve malice. How else do you explain the life you’ve lived? No, it cannot be your life that has been “off”; it must be this new thing, this weird, awkward, uncomfortable, and often painful thing, this thing called kindness. It’s too good to be true, right? Well, as it’s been explained to me, the kind and compassionate treatment by the staff at Castlewood only marks the beginning; they are teaching us what we deserve and what kinds of people we deserve to have in our lives. The people I have met here will become the models for the kinds of people I will look for from now on. Apparently, Castlewood is more like the “real world,” so to speak, than the world I grew up in. I am beginning to realize (dare I say it?) that Castlewood is the beginning of a real world I wish to live in.
I am so sorry that this is happening for you. It is so painful to know that such loving, pure-hearted, benevolent, and gracious people as those who work at Castlewood are being subjected to this kind of treatment after all the lives you have saved and the worlds you have opened up. I wish there was more I could do or say. But this is what I can muster for now.
All I can say is thank you, from the bottom of the heart I never really thought I had.
And I don’t give a shit if this sounds preachy, cheesy, effusive, gushy, mushy, or anything else, because it’s my truth.
It breaks my heart to see Castlewood on the news yet again! I would do anything to help them go away! Castlewood saved my life and many others and I believe this is all to cruel in many aspects! I support you all the way and pray that news and reporters leave you all alone along with Mark! I want to say so much but don’t have the words right now, it makes me so sad and upset! Nothing will change my view or support towards Castlewood and the staff who work their asses off to help those in desperate need of care! I thank you all for helping me see that i can have a life and now do!
In the past few weeks, some crazy things have been said and published about Castlewood Treatment Center and Mark Schwartz. I have to say, it has been shocking and hurtful to hear and read the kind of accusations that are being leveled at a place and a person that I care about—and who care about me.
I was a client at Castlewood in 2006 and 2007. When I was admitted, I had been struggling for many years with severe anorexia, bulimia, bipolar, self-harm, drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and I had been diagnosed with an unspecified dissociative disorder as well. I was dying; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. I couldn’t connect to anyone or anything and couldn’t remember most of what I did on any given day. Mark diagnosed me with dissociative identity disorder, and he was correct in doing so. As a child, I suffered long-term sexual violence at the hands of my father. I was raped at sixteen. These were not things planted in my head by anyone at Castlewood; these were memories I had for many years before I even heard of Castlewood. I began therapy using Internal Family Systems (IFS) and things began to make more sense. I began to get a better grip on the parts of myself that had split off in order to survive. Beyond that, I found a sense of comfort and safety at Castlewood unlike anything I’d ever had with my own home or family. Mark Schwartz and Lori Galperin were the mom and dad figures I needed but never had. Theresa Chesnut, who was my primary therapist, helped me gain invaluable insights and was rather good at confronting me on issues that I wanted to stay in denial about- I thank her for that. The 24-hr staff was available any time I had a crisis or a flashback or a nightmare. I made friends in treatment that I still have to this day; in this wonderful old house instead of a sterile hospital, surrounded by trees and amazing views, it was easy to be comfortable there. I wouldn’t trade my time at Castlewood for anything. It laid the foundation for the lasting recovery that I have today.
As for the accusations against Mark in particular, I can only say this: I know Mark as a person. And whatever is said about him, whatever you read about him, I can promise you that he would never harm anyone intentionally. He may be a little “out there”- most brilliant men are- but he has a good heart, and could not maliciously manipulate a person he is charged with helping. My experience of him is one of caring, generosity, humor, intensity, perhaps at times grandiosity, but always love. The same is true for the rest of the Castlewood staff.
My fear is that the inflammatory nature of this story- containing words like “satanic abuse” and “cult” that are highly provocative- is going to drown out all the incredible work that Castlewood does. And that would be such a shame. Because unlike the majority of residential treatment centers for eating disorders, the focus is not on weight restoration and eating behaviors. I went through that, at the four RTCs I attended prior to arriving at Castlewood- with no success. The philosophy at Castlewood is to focus on the why behind the behaviors, not the behaviors themselves. Focusing on only the behaviors is like putting a band-aid over an infected wound; it’s not going to heal until you open it up and clean out the infection, letting it heal from the inside out. That’s the only way this works, and Castlewood does that.
I don’t know what will happen with this story. All I can offer is my own experience of this place and these people, and assure hopeful clients that it is a safe and trustworthy point to begin your recovery journey.
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.
I’m a former client of Castlewood who spent 4 months in inpatient and day patient. I just heard about the terrible lawsuit against Mark and I just want to say I can offer my services in any way I can, if I can, whatever they may be. I believe strongly in the methods used by Mark and all the therapists at Castlewood and I strongly believe Mark would never do anything to harm a client emotionally or in any other way. Castlewood and Mark truly saved my life. I offer my deepest sympathies in this trying time. Mark, I believe in you.
I am so sorry for all that is happening right now. It’s absolutely crazy! I don’t understand why someone would do something like this, and while I have my own beliefs and opinions about this person and the situation, I want to believe that this woman is sick and will one day get the help she really needs. It’s heartbreaking. I don’t think I can ever fully comprehend what this must feel like, but I know it must hurt. Castlewood is the first place that has actually helped me in the way I needed help and is the first place that I can actually see leaving from and being successful. The community, safety, and foundation you have built is one of love, compassion, integrity, and wisdom- and I just wish that that side could be seen and portrayed as well. I know I’m only a client, and probably can’t do anything, but know that if I could do something to help, I would. People stand up for family, even “family of choice”.
Castlewood and the both of you will be in my prayers, as well as all of the clients. I just really wanted to say I’m so sorry you are going through this and that I appreciate so much, all that you’ve done for me.