Erikson Institute


Through the Erikson Institute, the Austen Riggs Center maintains important relationships with academic institutions, teaching hospitals and other psychoanalytically oriented groups and institutions.  These partnerships foster mutual learning, collaborations of various kinds and new research endeavors.  Current Affiliations include:

Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute

The Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute and the Erikson Institute have had a partnership since the Institute’s inception.  Institute classes are held at the Center.  Faculty and candidates have use of the Center’s excellent psychoanalytic library.  Selected institute courses are open to Riggs staff and Fellows, and occasionally a joint seminar is held.  

Cambridge Health Alliance

In the fall of 2007, the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) Psychology Department and the Erikson Institute formed an affiliation for the purpose of increasing training opportunities for CHA Pre-Doctoral Psychology Interns. The aim of the program is to augment the interns’ learning in a number of areas, including complex severe psychopathology; integrated, comprehensive, dynamic treatment; psychodynamic psychotherapy; and attention to context and systemic issues. These objectives are accomplished through twice-yearly two-day visits of the interns to Riggs and weekly psychotherapy supervision with a senior Riggs therapist.

Lacanian Clinical Forum

Chaired by founding member, John Muller, Ph.D., the Lacanian Clinical Forum meets twice yearly.  The Erikson Institute hosts this meeting in the fall at Riggs; in the spring, the meeting is held in the Montreal area.  The group’s task is to understand the clinical and theoretical ideas of Lacan through in-depth case discussion and interdisciplinary scholarship.

The New School

The Erikson Institute and The New School in New York have partnered on two projects:  Arts in Mind, which is held at The New School and co-led by Josh Shenk, writer, journalist, Erikson Scholar and Riggs consultant, and Jeremy Safran, Ph.D., psychoanalyst and Professor of Psychology at The New School; and The Founders’ Retreat: A Weekend Workshop for Founders of Non-Profit Organizastions, co-led with Mark Lipton, Ph.D., Professor of Management at The New School and Erikson Scholar.

Rapaport-Klein Study Group

The Rapaport-Klein Study Group is a gathering of the students of (and the students of the students of) David Rapaport, Director of Research at Riggs in its early history, and George Klein, psychoanalytic theoretician, researcher and incoming  Research Director at Riggs before his untimely death.  The group meets annually at the Center to present psychoanalytically oriented research in progress.  Given that this group is comprised of accomplished analyst-researchers, the projects presented represent the leading edge of psychodynamic research. 

Williams – Erikson Institute Study Group

This group of Williams College faculty, representing a range of disciplines, meets monthly with interested Riggs staff to discuss work in progress, with a focus on the way that academic examination and clinical thinking may inform each other.  Erikson Scholars participate in this group. 

Yale Child Study Center/Yale University School of Medicine

The Riggs-Yale partnership has a long and rich history that began under the leadership of former Austen Riggs Medical Director Dr. Robert Knight. The Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute was first launched with classes in New Haven and Stockbridge (thus coining the phrase, the “"Sigmund Freud Highway" between the two locations) and with faculty including Erik Erikson and other Riggs staff members holding Yale appointments.

The partnership has been reinvigorated in recent years, and since 2008 Riggs clinical staff members have taught a spring seminar to Fellows in Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. The most recent Psychodynamic Evaluation and Treatment Seminar included sessions on a developmental framework for thinking about children psychodynamically, developing alliances with patients and their families, and young adult psychopathology.  Riggs staff also give an annual Erikson Lecture in the Child Study Center’s Grand Rounds program.

In the summer of 2012, the Yale Child Study Center, the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and the Erikson Institute brought together their clinical and research interests to sponsor a joint conference: The Development of the Parent as a Person: Psychological, Neurobiological and Genetic Contributions. The conference examined how in-depth clinical data and cutting-edge findings from psychological, neurobiological and genetic studies on parenting clarify and deepen the understanding of both competent and problematic parenting. Based upon the success of the conference, a second conference is scheduled for 2013, focused on parenting, partnerships and addictions.