Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Woman Sues Therapist For Brainwashing Her Into Believing She Was In A Satanic Cult

A psychologist accused of hypnotizing a woman into believing she possessed multiple personalities and participated in satanic rituals may be sued by several others who say they were also told they had been a part of a satanic cult, according to a Missouri attorney.

Lisa Nasseff, 41, of Saint Paul, Minn., is suing her former therapist, Mark Schwartz, and the Castlewood Treatment Center in St. Louis, Mo., where she received 15 months of treatment for anorexia, according to the complaint.

Instead of improving, the lawsuit alleges Nasseff suffered "great physical pain and suffering and anguish" during her time at the facility, and asserts that she will continue to suffer.

"She was hospitalized multiple times," Nasseff's lawyer, Kenneth Vuylsteke, told "One time she tried to commit suicide … she's done much better now that she's been away from there."

The complaint alleges Nasseff's therapist, Mark Schwartz, "carelessly and negligently hypnotized [Nasseff]" while she was under the influence of "various psychotropic medications" to treat depression and anxiety. The hypnosis allegedly created false memories, including the belief that she was "a member of a satanic cult and that she was involved in or perpetrated various criminal and horrific acts of abuse."

One of those acts included "sacrificing her sister's baby on the altar of Satan," according to Vuylsteke.

Nasseff "was in a highly vulnerable physical and mental state due to her pre-existing eating disorder," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit also alleges Schwartz "persuaded and convinced [Nasseff] to become increasingly isolated from her family and friends by leading her to believe said persons were involved in a satanic cult and that they had been and would continue to sexually abuse her and force her to engage in criminal acts and horrific abuse of others."

But then other women receiving treatment at the facility began to realize their stories were very similar to one another's, Vuylsteke said.

"She got together with other women who had been through this with her at Castlewood. And they said, 'How can we all have been members of cults and not know it -- two years ago, three years ago? We all got brainwashed? It can't be right."

Now "multiple individuals" are speaking out about Castlewood, and backing Nasseff's account of what took place there, Vuylsteke added.

"We've got other cases we're looking at right now," Vuylsteke told, adding the alleged victims' stories, all involving women, look "remarkably similar."

At this stage, he declined to say exactly how many women are claiming false memory implantation.

"All I can tell you is it's several. We're in the process of evaluating them right now," he said.

Schwartz, the therapist who treated Nasseff at Castlewood and still serves as the facility's clinical co-director, denied ever hypnotizing Nasseff.

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