Client and Family Testimonials
“Castlewood offered me a different reflection of myself, and they gave me a safe space where I didn’t need all the self-loathing behaviors, thoughts, and emotions associated with my eating disorder. Those stripped away, I could see what I really am, and I decided that I didn’t want to lose what I saw. Castlewood taught me and empowered me to care enough to fight for my life.”-EL
“Castlewood has not been my first treatment center, but here, I found something for the first time: people who were willing to treat me with compassion, respect, and had a genuine interest in what I wanted and what would be most beneficial for me. They pushed and encouraged, but never forced me to do things before I was ready. I made plenty of mistakes and had lapses, but instead of being shamed, like I have been in the past, I was taught to take each situation and give myself understanding, as well as glean what I could to prevent the same errors in the future. Castlewood taught me that there are no “shoulds”: I am exactly where I am and I am allowed to feel exactly what I am feeling, and that is okay. I am okay. I am a person who deserves recovery. For the first time in my life, people have seen me, as I am, and in reflecting acceptance of this back to me, I have come to gain a better acceptance of myself, my strengths and qualities, and am confident I can be a more genuine person in the future because of it. Although I still have a way to go on the road to reocvery, I having nothing but gratitude for me time, who freely gave their time, kindness and knowledge to help me discover and feel things about myself I didn’t know existed. I can also say I have built strong bonds in the community through skills taught by Castlewood and by daily challenging former beliefs about trust. In building relationships among other clients, I also feel more confident in my ability to apply these skills in the world. “-ML
“The people at Castlewood Treatment Center saved my life. But they did more than that. They opened up my eyes to what life is all about, to all that I have to look forward to. I came in closed off from the world. The people here helped me find my strength. They didn’t just give me wings, they helped me find my own. They helped me realize I had the power to fly inside me all the time. I’m not just alive today because of the people here, but I’m actually living life as well.- MB
“We chose Castlewood very carefully. When my daughter started I had hope, bits of optimism, and of course some relief in seeing her downward spiral arrested. Almost a month later, I still felt those same things, but my daughter was voicing some optimism of her own. The degree to which the staff blend their perspectives with each client, including my daughter, is what returned her to life, and life to her. You were the reason she believed she might, then could, then would make it — and yours was the strength she ‘borrowed’ when hers wasn’t quite there.”- DM
“Before coming to Castlewood, I had given up on life. After battling an eating disorder for over 20 years, I felt hopeless and drained. I could not feed myself; I could not leave my home; I could not function. Castlewood save my life in countless ways. They saved me from my eating disorder and a path of self-destruction. Rather than focus purely on weight restoration and the nuances of eating disorder behaviors, Castlewood provided to me, and all of its clients, specialized and individualized adjunctive services targeting the underlying and co-occurring disorders that contribute to the eating disorder. The therapeutic experience at Castlewood is unmatched by any other program I’ve been to. The emphasis on both individual and group therapeutic work allowed me not only to explore the depths of my own struggles, but to learn and grow through the shared experience of my peers. For the first time, I was not alone in my struggles. The clinicians and staff at Castlewood approached my treatment with a compassionate discipline that helped me see the power of my eating disorder when I was in denial and could not face it. I learned about the shame, worthless, and self-hatred that my eating disorder tries to protect me from. My shame and self-hatred kept me locked in my house afraid to face the world. The work I received for my anxiety allowed me, for the first time, to recognize how my anxiety manifested in my life. I had a space to work on my anxiety without shame and judgment. My anxiety work allowed me to leave my home again. I will never forget how I panicked during my first exposure to Target and now visit Target on a regular basis by myself and free of panic. I now face the future with a renewed sense of hope. Castlewood helped me understand the underlying pain that keeps my eating disorder alive and the strength I have inside to battle it. I now have the foundation to move forward. I will be forever grateful to Castlewood for giving me the chance to do that.”-SSK
“It was very difficult to make the decision to send our 16 year old daughter to Castlewood for residential treatment of anorexia. However, we found quickly that Castlewood is a high quality and effective treatment center for eating disorders. Within 2 months of checking her in, she was back at home, well into her recovery, not only of her health and eating, but her life as a typical teenager. Castlewood’s program is rigorous, diverse and intense. The dietitians, psychiatrists, and therapists have specialized knowledge and experience with eating disorders and work together to devise a recovery plan to meet the client’s specific needs. They utilize a variety of treatments and approaches to therapy, focusing not only on restoring the client’s health, but also on identifying and addressing the issues behind the eating disorder. The household staff is sincerely warm, empathetic and caring. Having originally been built as a residence, the facility provides a nurturing environment during the client’s stay in a scenic and tranquil location. These factors all clearly contributed to the success of our daughter’s recovery. We are forever thankful to Castlewood for helping us and our daughter through a very difficult time, and for providing our daughter with the support and life skills that she will be able to use throughout the rest of her life!”- J & MG
“I came to Castlewood a broken person, riddled with shame, self hate and terror. I was not far from death. The effects of trauma had left me fragmented and terrified of both existing in my body and functioning in the outside world. At Castlewood, I have for the first time in my life, slowly begun to experience a sense of safety. Through my work here, I have been able to cultivate enough strength and courage to explore the seemingly endless layers of pain an suffering accumulated over the course of more than 30 years of life. Throughout my journey at Castlewood, I have been privileged to be guided, challenged and supported by a team of profoundly brilliant, skillful and compassionate clinicians. The patience, strength, vision, deep wisdom and humanity of my treatment team have allowed me to do transformative work I would not have imagined possible before coming here. The willingness and ability of my clinical team to follow my process into the depths of terror, pain, despair and chaotic emotion have allowed me to do the work I needed to do in order to begin to heal. I am clear that it is by virtue of the healing I have found at Castlewood that I am still alive. The the possibility of a life lived with joy, freedom, strength and capacity to embrace the ebb and flow of life, the broad spectrum of human experience is now even remotely possible for me only because of the unspeakably hard work I have been able to do at Castlewood. To those who have touched my process along the way and contributed to my healing journey at Castlewood, I extend deepest respect and profound, lasting gratitude. “-S.G
“As I reflect on my time at Castlewood I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to go there and get healing, learn boundaries, learn how to love myself, and how to make healthy relationships. Castlewood truly changed me. Castlewood gave me a second chance at motherhood. I now am a proud mommy of three adorable children. I just had a baby two weeks ago and although I struggled with the connection with my first two kids I truly have a connection now with them and with our new bundle of joy Landyn. I can not thank you all enough for saving my life, giving me a second chance at being able to be a mommy, and mostly giving me the tools I needed to learn to cope with grief, happiness, sadness, and mostly I let myself feel the emotions and walk away from the people that hurt me the most. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!”~Christina
“As a 22 year old who has struggled with her eating disorder for over half of her life, my hope for recovery had been rapidly reduced down to a flicker. Castlewood Treatment Center is the second facility I’ve undergone treatment for my eating disorder; however, it’s the first place I was able to find a renewed hope for my future.
Castlewood’s staff is unbelievably knowledgeable about a variety of issues: trauma, abuse, eating disorders of every kind, substance abuse, anxiety and OCD, self harm, SI, body image issues, attachment issues–you name it; they are familiar and eager to help clients work through their struggles and begin to heal. Castlewood’s treatment extends beyond the surface of numbers and symptoms; their focus diligently hones in on the core issues and beliefs that drive the disorder. With their multiple different therapeutic modalities, Castlewood’s staff is able to find the appropriate treatment approach (or approaches) to best suit the clients needs; thus, creating an extremely unique and individualized program.
After having the privilege of staying at Castlewood for several months, I am able to look back and reflect on the noticeable changes and progress I’ve made towards my recovery. Their caring and trustworthy staff showed me a level of compassion and understanding I’ve never experienced before; making me feel safe and confident in their abilities to help me overcome my eating disorder.
The knowledge and understanding my family and I have obtained about my eating disorder is remarkable; I will forever be grateful. Castlewood Treatment Center successfully restored my hope for recovery to a full blown flame.”~AB
“Thank you for the monthly Castlewood newsletters. My daughter Heidi, was a client at Castlewood for two months at the beginning of 2012. Castlewood has given her the tools to begin a new life full of the hopes and dreams that she never before thought possible. Heidi is doing well in her recovery. For the most part, our family is doing well in her recovery. As I read through your recent newsletter, I was moved to walk back in time and experience again my thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams that I experienced during my family week-end visit to Castlewood.. As a fifteen year recovering alcoholic, I couldn’t help but to re-live so much of my recovery. It is so encouraging to see that the focus now being used in treating eating disorders treats the whole person and not just a single symptom. I feel strongly that we are the sum of our parts. When the parts get broken we have to replace them or fix them. Sometimes the parts don’t fit quite right so we have to throw them out and start over. I believe that an dealing successfully with eating disorders, as the same for alcoholism, that Heidi feel empowered to manage, control and achieve the baby steps and the giant steps in her recovery demands The difference for Heidi in her present recovery is that she is a strong partner in a multi-professional team that supports her, and most importantly, that provides her the tools to believe in herself enough so that she can fully believe in her support team. It has been said so often that it is not the destination but the journey that is most important. So true.” Respectfully, Pat
“Castlewood TC is like a championship sports team. The fifth string is just as talented as the first string. I didn’t understand that there were so many genuinely caring and compassionate people in the world. I am sure that I had encountered many throughout my life but I wasn’t able to recognize them until Castlewood taught me to see. I experienced more tender loving care at Castlewood than in all the days of my life added together. The directors and staff have created a sanctuary in the truest sense of the word. It is a safe place where safe people helped me to find myself, to see who I really am, a place where I began to unfold. Castlewood not only saved my life they restored me to my life, a life I no longer believed possible, a life I no longer believed I deserved. A life not determined by circumstances or the expectation of others but the life I was born to live. The eating disorder has proven to be gift, a doorway to life. Because of the ED I had the privilege of living in this scared space for 90 days over the winter of 2011-2012. I left with a sense of renewed hope and possibility; I had begun to dream again, it was like being reborn. Unfolding is a process that takes time, patience and the continual presence of appropriate nourishment. Appropriate nourishment was modeled for me at Castlewood and it is up to me to supply that for myself I as move forward. I don’t yet know who I am but I learning to know who I am not. I don’t have the words to fully express the gratitude that I hold for this place and these people. The truest expression of this gratitude is to continue the process of growth and discovery, to continue to unfold and to live into my life, the life Castlewood helped me to remember and reclaim.” ~LK
“I find it incredibly difficult to put into words the gratitude that I have for not only Castlewood Treatment facility but for the staff that work at Castlewood. Castlewood and more importantly the people at Castlewood saved my life…..a life at the time I wasn’t even sure I wanted saved. When I arrived at Castlewood, I was broken and barely hanging on to life. Not only was I battling an eating disorder but I was engulfed in the most intense grief and post traumatic stress. It was hard to face each day, let alone breathe. Upon arriving at Castlewood, I was instantly surrounded by the most compassionate, skilled, brilliant, loving and honest therapists and I had a sense that I wasn’t going to be alone on this journey to recovery. Step by step, day by day I was supported by this amazing team of individuals, from Mark and Lori, to my individual therapist, Theresa, to the dietitians, the nurses and on-line staff. Each and every person connected to Castlewood played an integral role in my recovery. There were days, many days, during my 5 months of treatment that I did not think I could make it, but they would not let me give up on myself. They pushed me to limits that I didn’t think I was capable of getting to. They created the space for me to deal with the grief and loss issues that I was facing in my current day situation, but also enabled me to see how my current day grief triggered my losses and traumas from childhood and ultimately how that all tied into my eating disorder. The analogy that I like to use is that of an onion…..pealing all the many layers off to get to the core of my eating disorder. One of the beauties and strengths of Castlewood is the way in which they were able to individualize my treatment plan to my specific needs. Castlewood isn’t in the business of serving tons of clients at once, but keeping their numbers small so that they can give all the individual attention that is needed to each client. It’s about quality not quantity. One of the best decisions of my life was to go to Castlewood Treatment Center and I will be eternally grateful for the therapy, compassion and support that I was provided during my journey back to a life that I do want to live.” ~ Gail
“My son has struggled with an eating disorder for 30 years and Castlewood saved his life; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We found that there were not many treatment centers for men as eating disorders are often viewed as only a “woman’s disease” and, of course, that is not true. Castlewood treated my son with the same commitment and care as they do all their clients. My son experienced the staff at Castlewood as knowledgeable and well-trained and, most importantly for us, he was embraced with loving compassion.I was fortunate to experience family week two times. (I highly recommend this) I came away with a deeper understanding of eating disorders, treatment and recovery of the disease. To become aware that the family is part of the problem and part of the solution is a significant step in recovery. I see that this very important and meaningful experience helps me be a positive and integral part of my son’s recovery.
My son is recovering from his eating disorder. He is fully functioning in the world with strength, pride and confidence. The smile on his face comes from his healed heart. My son and our family are blessed to have experienced Castlewood and the wonderful staff. Thank you, I am most grateful.” ~Cindy, a mom
“I came to treatment at Castlewood not knowing what to expect. I hadn’t been in treatment before and had no idea what was ahead of me. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was in a special place. As I underwent the initial process of adjusting to a new environment, I attempted to convince myself that I was not sick enough to warrant help (a denial of my own needs that I later learned played into my eating disorder). I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by incredibly supportive peers who assured me that I deserved the help I was getting. My first week at Castlewood completely exceeded my expectations; after struggling with my eating disorder for years under the occasional guidance of counselors who largely ignored the subject (with assistance from my own minimization of the issue), I could not believe the progress I made in therapy and groups at Castlewood in just a few days. I began a journey of addressing core beliefs about myself that I had formed as a child. I came to see the perfectionism, self-hate, and over control that drove my restriction not only of food but also of friendships, self-care, and enjoyment. The critical voice of my eating disorder, combined with black-and-white thinking, led me to believe that if I could not be some perfect, non-existent ideal, if I was ever “too easy” on myself, I would inevitably become out of control and my life would descend into chaos. This way of thinking became a self-fulfilling prophecy. After losing control in various areas of my life, I felt that I deserved punishment and the pendulum would swing once again to obsessive self-control fueled by my ever-present anxiety. Only with the help of Castlewood did I begin to truly believe that I could actually live a balanced life. Before coming to Castlewood I thought that I would always exist in one of two extremes, I thought this was just my personality. Although I desired to change, I did not see a way out. My work here has helped me to separate the messages I received from others throughout my life from my true self. I am in the process of re-acquainting myself with my own beliefs, convictions, interests, and goals. The false idea that happiness and satisfaction with myself equals shameful complacency buried my self-compassion. Unearthing this compassion from a massive pile of unhealthy messages is now a constant endeavor for me. Without Castlewood I would have never even thought to start digging. The people at Castlewood understand that my eating disorder was not really about food. They understand that I was using disordered eating as a coping mechanism for my looming feeling of dissatisfaction with myself and my anxiety about being able to fit into the world as a “flawed” individual. They taught me to see that I am indeed not flawed, I had only been led to believe this through different experiences. Eliminating my eating disorder behaviors means having to deal with the underlying feelings and anxiety. My treatment team at Castlewood focused on helping me with my anxiety because they understood that in order to recover I must address the anxiety that had always made my eating disorder behaviors an attractive, self-soothing option. They emphasized new, healthy ways of coping with my emotions. My therapists helped me to be aware of my often scary feelings and understand their temporary rather than everlasting nature. I no longer automatically resort to restricting, bingeing, or over-exercising when strong emotions come up. I appreciate that the staff at Castlewood has put so much care into creating a positive environment for recovery. The clients I have gotten to know at Castlewood have given me insight into my own disorder through their stories and struggles. I have found nothing as powerful as being able to relate to others on a deep level. I feel a strong connection to my peers. They provide understanding, motivation, and encouragement throughout the day and during the hardest times. I know my treatment at Castlewood will continue to benefit me throughout my life; I will always cherish the insight I have gained from self-exploration in such a caring and attentive community. My eating disorder provided me solace only through isolative, maladaptive, and disordered behaviors. I am beyond happy that, because of my time at Castlewood, I now can be present in the moment and enjoy seemingly simple things that used to feel so forced and uncomfortable, such as outings with friends, playing with my dog, and connecting to others.”~AA
“My journey to health began immediately upon my arrival at Castlewood. I felt a sigh of relief the moment I stepped into the facility and was warmly welcomed by staff members. I knew that I was in good hands. Less than an hour after my arrival, I met Mark Schwartz and his first words were something along the lines of, “Things will get better now. We’re going to take care of you.” I sensed the sincerity and compassion in his voice and can now say that they certainly did take care of me better than I could have ever imagined at the time.
I was moved by the compassion and sincerity with which the Castlewood staff addressed my needs and those of other clients. Even though a good part of each day was spent working in groups, I felt that I received more individual attention than I could have asked for. I truly felt that each member was selected not only for his or her high skill-level and knowledge but because they were passionate about helping people heal. Castlewood provided me with the guidance, knowledge and safety I needed in order to look inward and discover the roots of my illness. Throughout the process of this inner dissection, I felt strongly supported by the staff and group therapy sessions. Therapy felt like slowly taking myself apart, piece-by-piece, and then putting myself back together. Castlewood provided me with the compassion, security, and encouragement I needed in order to undergo that very frightening and painful process. The beautiful setting and peaceful home-like environment helped me feel more serene and comfortable during the deep healing process. Among the many life skills that I learned, I would say the most important thing I’ve been taught and continue to learn is to be there lovingly for myself.” ~AB
“Forever grateful for an organization who took the time to believe in me when my behavior didn’t deserve believing in, understanding when I couldn’t understand myself, and hope in my future when my vision was cloudy. Five years ago, I entered Castlewood hurt, without hope, and broken. I knew I had an eating disorder, my body showed it, and couldn’t stop starving, or bingeing and purging on my own. Castlewood and the staff was a safe haven for me to nourish by body, soul, and mind. Slowly, I was able to understand the function of my eating disorder, make changes, and regain stability in my life. My journey was not easy…it was painful and challenging at times, and in those times, my therapist and treatment team was there to support me until I was able to get back on my feet again. I’m grateful for the months I spent at Castlewood.”~MB
“I was first admitted to Castlewood Treatment Center in November of 2011. I had been in and out of previous treatment facilities throughout the course of my eating disorder. I had been consistently in residential treatment for about the previous two years and I had done my share of hard work on the surface issues of my eating disorder issues such as significant weight restoration and DBT skills work. I came into Castlewood knowing that I had done a lot of work, learned a lot of skills, and made a lot of progress, but I had not yet been able to achieve lasting recovery from my eating disorder. It seemed as if every time I would leave treatment the relapse would start almost immediately and I would be right back in treatment within a month’s time. It always seemed to be related to a traumatic event or lead to a traumatic event. I also began to struggle with other addictive behaviors, such as binge drinking, self-harm, and sexually acting out. I have come to find that these behaviors were serving as my mal-adaptive behaviors that I developed in order to try to cope with the eating disorder.
Unlike other treatments that I have tried, Castlewood has worked with me on the core issues that lead me to develop my eating disorder and other mal-adaptive coping mechanisms. They took the focus off of the food and strict restoration guidelines for the first time for me, and I became the main focus. I have learned that throughout my childhood I was never given a chance at developing healthy attachment. This was the beginning traumatic event that has lead to a lifetime of trauma, reenactment, objectification, victimization, eating disorder, and addiction. In my time at Castlewood I have been given the chance to start to develop a sense of self-efficacy. This is something that I would have gotten from my attachment environment, had it been safe and secure. This connection is essential in leading a self-lead life and a life in recovery. I have come to know that my struggles are never really about the food, but about the unmet needs and stifled emotions that I have never been allowed to let myself to experience, because I was taught that this was wrong. Being the victim, conditional love, and other distorted beliefs that I was given as a child are all things I have come to see are just that, distortions, and they do not have to be the things I continue to do and believe throughout the rest of my life. I still have a long way to go with my recovery process and a lot of distorted beliefs to unweave and align with what is going to lead me to self-compassion and a life that I deserve to live, but there is no doubt in my mind that I am right where I need to be. Castlewood has changed my life forever and is giving me the chance everyday to become the woman that I was never allowed to be. I will forever be thankful to Mark and Lori for creating such a unique place of healing and self-discovery.” ~K.F.
“I came to Castlewood Treatment Center knowing that I would be coming to terms with my eating disorder. The amazing treatment team and caring staff members fostered an environment that allowed me to feel comfortable enough to discuss, and then have the appropriate tools to manage my anorexia. I truly believe that I would not be a success story without the encouragement and support of Castlewood. I didn’t develop my eating disorder overnight and I didn’t expect that it would ‘leave’ that quickly. It is something that takes hard work by the client as well as the treatment team, and for me, it was the first place I went and I’m so glad I found them.” ~Kaeta
“I had struggled with an eating disorder most of my life. From age 16-22 it was really bad. I had a few good years but at age 28 I found my life unraveling. I was bingeing and purging uncontrollably and my weight had plummeted. My therapist recommended a higher level of care and after researching several options – I chose Castlewood. And it was the best decision I have ever made. Castlewood worked with me as an individual – not just the standard treatment protocol for an individual with an eating disorder. They included my family. They addressed the underlying issues (depression, childhood trauma, etc). I felt cared for and heard. I was challenged yet supported. It wasn’t just about the food – yet the food was addressed. Over a year’s time I spent approximately 8 months at Castlewood in different levels of care. A year after my discharge, I was struggling with eating disorder behaviors so I attended the Intensive Outpatient Program. I found that program to be extremely helpful in changing behaviors before they got to the point of needing residential treatment. I was able to focus on some issues and change behaviors while still working and having my normal social life. The therapists at Castlewood were the best I’ve ever worked with. They listened and supported but also challenged my thinking and attitudes. I grew as a person in ways I never thought possible. I came into Castlewood defeated and hopeless – relying on a G-tube for sustenance. I now am living a life of recovery and have gotten married and have two beautiful children. I know that without the help of Castlewood I would not be where I am. Mark, Lori and Theresa were instrumental in helping me sift through the broken pieces of my life. With their guidance and expertise, I was able to create a beautiful life out of a crazy mess. I hope I never need treatment again! I have been living in solid recovery for over 2 years now. But if I ever do need more help, I would not hesitate to return to Castlewood.” ~Anonymous
“Being honest meant I was going against who I was – everything I was always taught – the constant shifting, in and out of whichever character I needed to be for protection from the rest of the world. At Castlewood, for the first time I told a story that was mine – not the one I thought I knew was true… not the story of a girl I was in public, or the girl in the bedroom I borrowed growing up, or the girl in my parents house. It was all mine – non-returnable, non-refundable – mine. We all come in looking for a little corner, a piece of the world that is safe – a place we can claim as our own. Every person that walks in those doors walks out a different person no matter what, and we all take Castlewood with us when we leave. I found a corner of the world at Castlewood that is mine and no one can take that away from me. If I dig deep enough I can feel it — if I listen close enough I can hear the sound of the trains…. I’ll keep a song in my head and hope in my heart. I am eternally grateful — with deepest gratitude. ” ~AP