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Monday, December 12, 2011

Woman’s psychiatrist implanted horrific false memories

By Nightdesk, Herald-Tribune
Health and Fitness

The memories that came flooding back were so horrific that Lisa Nasseff says she tried to kill herself: She had been raped several times, had multiple personalities and took part in satanic rituals involving unthinkable acts. She says she only got better when she realized they weren’t real.

Nasseff, 31, is suing a suburban St. Louis treatment center where she spent 15 months being treated for anorexia, claiming one of its psychologists implanted the false memories during hypnosis sessions in order to keep her there long-term and run up a bill that eventually reached $650,000. The claims seem unbelievable, but her lawyer, Kenneth Vuylsteke, says other patients have come forward to say they, too, were brainwashed and are considering suing.

“This is an incredible nightmare,” Vuylsteke said.

Castlewood Treatment Center’s director, Nancy Albus, and the psychologist, Mark Schwartz, deny the allegations. Albus pledged to vigorously fight the lawsuit, which was filed Nov. 21 in St. Louis County and seeks the repayment of medical expenses and punitive damages. As in repressed memory cases, which typically involve allegations of abuse that occurred during childhood, the outcome will likely hinge on the testimony of experts with starkly different views on how memory works.

Nasseff, who lives in St. Paul, Minn., stayed at Castlewood from July 2007 through March 2008 and returned for seven months in 2009. She was struggling with anorexia and as a resident of Minnesota, which requires insurers to cover long-term eating disorders, she could afford to stay at the center, which sits on a high bluff in the suburb of Ballwin overlooking a park and meandering river. Most states, including Missouri, don’t require such coverage.

The entire story is here.