The Riggs Blog

The Riggs Blog

The Riggs Blog is a mix of news about clinical work, research and educational activities from the Austen Riggs Center, as well as a source for information beyond our walls that we find interesting and thought-provoking.

  • We were greatly saddened by the news of former Erikson Scholar John Kerr’s passing earlier this week. 

  • Samar Habl, MD is the director of admissions at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.

    Samar Habl, MD, newly appointed director of admissions at the Austen Riggs Center talks about the role of the family in the admissions process.

  • Nicholas Holliday, MD, assumes the role of Director of Psychopharmacology and Medical Services at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Nicholas Holliday, MD, assumes the role of Director of Psychopharmacology and Medical Services at the Austen Riggs Center. 

  • 2016 Erikson Prize recipients

    2016 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media Recipients Named

  • CEB Board

    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.” Congratulations to Ellen Broderick, Therapeutic Community Center Education Coordinator, for creating the winning blog entry.

  • Psychological testing at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Central elements of our clinical work include understanding individuals on their own terms, understanding the sources and meanings of the problems they bring, and respecting their authority in relation to their own life goals. People live in a network of relationships: our patients often have troubled networks and they bring the troubles with them. We offer a new network of relationships with staff and other patients, in which people can get support but also re-create the troubles in a place where they can be understood and changed. 

  • Austen Riggs Nursery School, part of the Activities Program at the Austen Riggs Center, celebrates children at year-end graduation.

    Though it was a cool and windy day, there was a great deal of warmth in the large tent that housed the Austen Riggs Nursery School graduation on June 9, 2016. Parents, caregivers and members of the Riggs community congregated, while festive music filled the air and a slideshow of pictures from the school year flashed by on a large projection screen.  

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych, Associate Medical Director and Director of Admissions

    Despite advances in research methodology and efforts in the mental health and addictions fields to move toward evidence based treatment, large numbers of patients fail to respond to our best evidence based treatments. This has led to growing recognition of the phenomenon of treatment resistance.

  • Barbara Turner Hart, RN, MA, Director of Nursing at the Austen Riggs Center.

    When Barbara Turner Hart, RN, MA, retired from Riggs as the nurse educator in 2015, she did not expect to find herself in the position she is in now: back at Riggs as the director of nursing. But, when she was asked to step in after the retirement of the former director of nursing, Jane Bloom, PhD, she couldn’t say no. Turner Hart remarks, “I’m excited about providing leadership for and promoting the hard work of nursing in this unique psychiatric setting.”

  • Patients and staff were given puzzle pieces during the open setting seminar and asked to place their piece in a large puzzle.

    Listening, questioning and “opening things up” are values central both to the clinical work at Riggs and to the way the Riggs community of patients and staff work together in an open setting that is devoid of locks or privilege systems. It is “the intangibles that allow us to keep it open,” says David Mintz, MD, team leader and staff psychiatrist at Riggs.



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