Entries in Therapist (2)


Therapist Planted Satanic Cult Memories in Woman

Hemera Technologies/ LOUIS) -- 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.

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

The complaint alleges that 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.

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

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

Vuylsteke admitted he was skeptical when he first heard about Nasseff's case. But then he met her in person.

"Lisa … is a highly intelligent individual," he said. "When I spoke with her I understood then what happened and what she had to work through to come to the realization that all of this was implanted."

Psychologists have demonstrated it's possible to implant memories.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Patient Kills Psychiatrist in Murder-Suicide

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.) -- Dr. Mark Lawrence, a Virginia psychiatrist who was killed by a patient in a murder-suicide Friday, was remembered by his colleagues as a gifted psychiatrist and mentor to hundreds of therapists.

"He helped people focus on their own strengths. It was such a hopeful vision," said Dr. Cynthia Margolies, who worked with Lawrence at the Center for Healing and Imagery, a school Lawrence founded 27 years ago to provide continuing education to therapists.

Barbara Newman, 62, shot Lawrence, 71, when she showed up at his home office Friday afternoon for her appointment. Newman then turned the gun on herself.

Police continue to investigate and have not released any additional information, said Fairfax County Police Department spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell.

Dr. Mel Stern, a psychiatrist and longtime friend of Lawrence's, told the Washington Post that Lawrence had expressed concern about Newman when Stern and Lawrence met for lunch the day before his death.

Many mental health professionals report they worry about their safety at times, Dr. John Lion, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told ABC News.

Lion, who has studied violence against mental health professionals and has assisted Maryland's state mental hospitals in developing ways to handle patients who might pose a physical threat to their therapists, said a mental health professional is murdered by a patient every two to three years.

Last year, a New York City psychotherapist was killed by a patient wielding a meat cleaver.

In 2006, a Maryland psychiatrist was beaten to death in his office by a patient.

"You want to screen patients you see in private settings," said Lion. "Beyond that, you can't do much."

Although he was semi-retired, Lawrence, who attended Harvard Medical School and trained at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, continued to see a handful of patients in his home office.

"He had a deep faith in peoples' capacity to heal," said Margolies, who has received an outpouring of emails from people who had been touched by her colleague.

"It feels so unreal. I can't wrap my mind around it," said one email, which Margolies read over the phone. Another writer said she would miss Lawrence's "loving wisdom."

Outside his therapeutic work, Lawrence lived an active life, Margolies said -- he was learning how to wakeboard, played tennis and snow skied.

Lawrence leaves behind a wife, daughter and a three-year-old grandson.

Copyrght 2011 ABC News Radio

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