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Alsana Treatment Center St. Louis

FMSF News Alert - April 1, 2019

Dear Friends,

Castlewood Treatment Center of St. Louis has revamped itself since a series of malpractice lawsuits were settled against it in 2014. Now named "Alsana", the eating disorder clinic has changed owners, CEO, and some key clinical staff, but whether or not they’ve changed their methods is yet to be seen. [1]

In 2011, the clinic was hit with lawsuits by four former patients all stating that they’d been coached by staff to believe their eating disorders stemmed from childhood abuses hidden from them in alter personalities. [2] [3] Those lawsuits were settled out of court by then owner Trinity Hunt Partners for an undisclosed amount, with the agreement that the complainants could no longer share their stories publicly - although news footage of the original accusations can still be found online:

"We’re talking about a 28-year-old woman who believed that a couple of years ago that she participated in satanic abuse and sacrificed babies. ...These aren’t memories that happened to little kids. These are memories that supposedly happened two or three years ago that this woman was brainwashed to believe." [4]

Trinity Hunt Partners sold their interest in the clinic in 2016 and in late 2017 a new clinic CEO was named. Still, complaints about the treatment methodologies continued - such as this one from a patient in 2017:

"[The staff psychiatrist] would outright suggest that some sort of abuse had happened to me at a certain age when I knew it hadn’t and told him as much. He would tell me I had just forgotten about it but that he was pretty sure that some person in my life had done x, y and z to me. Then he would tell me how I felt about it (even though I still insisted it didn’t happen). His descriptions were graphic and detailed...[He] tried to diagnose me with DID [Dissociative Identity Disorder] on at least four separate occasions that I remember. Each and every time I told him very clearly that I did not have it. But to this day I don’t know whether it is in my medical file or not. He wasn’t the only one that tried to suggest to me that I had DID. [The clinical director] made a similar suggestion and devoted an entire group to trying to convince me I had DID. ...Since leaving Castlewood I have been assessed by multiple other mental health professionals, all who concur without hesitation that I show not one single sign or symptom of [Disocciative Identity Disorder]". [5]

Castlewood/ Alsana was founded Dr. Mark Schwartz and his wife Lori Galeprin. Prior to their move to St. Louis, Schwartz and Galeprin were clinical directors at a trauma unit in Kansas City, which was beleaguered by similar complaints during the couple’s tenure there. As one employee of the KC Unit explained: "Deep down inside, [the patients] wanted so much for the therapist to say, ‘Come on, you’re only 25 years old and you couldn’t have already had 15 babies.’ They wanted somebody in authority to say, ‘This is crazy,’ to tell them to stop saying these things." [6]

Shortly after the plaintiff depositions were taken in the Castlewood lawsuits both Schwarz and Galperin left Missouri. At last accounting, LCSW Galeprin was living and working with Marc Gafni, a former Rabbi who is accused of molesting young clients. [7] [8] Dr. Mark Schwartz is now at Harmony Place in Monterey California, still treating eating disorders and trauma victims. [9] Alsana currently has a treatment center in the Monterey CA area in addition to its St. Louis location.

We hope that along with distancing themselves from Schwartz and Galeprin with a name change, Alsana’s new CEO is sincere about "transforming" the way they’re delivering care.

[1] https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/castlewood-eating-disorder-center-changes-name-following-malpractice-lawsuits/article_0472d487-aaff-54e3-bbcf-09d3fca48f94.html

[2] http://www.kmov.com/story/28486049/fourth-lawsuit-filed-against-castlewood-treatment-center-over-implanted-memory

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoylCDg_tjs

[4] https://www.courthousenews.com/bizarre-claim-against-eating-disorder-clinic/

[5] https://www.castlewoodvictimsunite.org/single-post/2017/10/22/What-Really-Happens-at-Castlewood

[6] https://www.thepitchkc.com/news/article/20615632/could-it-be-satan

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/26/us/marc-gafni-center-for-integral-wisdom.html

[8] https://www.drphil.com/videos/i-dont-know-what-the-hell-youre-trying-to-say-dr-phil-says-to-guest/

[9] http://harmonyplacemonterey.com/

J. Bean and Pam