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.

  • 13 Reasons Why – A Clinical Perspective on Suicide Contagion

    While the show demonstrates the danger of contagion, the creators appear not to have considered how their particular approach to presenting the series may create similar vulnerabilities and danger in young viewers. Suicide is fundamentally an irrational act that occurs in a state of tremendous distress. When a suicide occurs, this increases feelings of pain and guilt, as well as making suicide feel more accessible. For this reason, showing Hannah’s suicide in such detail seems likely to be counterproductive.

  • Riggs Theatre 37 to Stage Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure May 23-28

    Each spring, a group of Austen Riggs Center patients and actors from the local community stage a Shakespearian production in the intimate Riggs Theatre 37, located at 37 Main Street in Stockbridge on the second floor. This year’s production, Measure for Measure, will be performed nightly at 7:30 p.m. from Tuesday, May 23 through Sunday, May 28.

  • Austen Riggs Center staff members Dr. Donna Elmendorf and Dr. Claudia Gold respond to a recent New York Times article, “The Birth of a Mother.” 

  • Dr. Andrew J. Gerber is the CEO/Medical Director of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.

    New England Psychologist interviews Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Andrew J. Gerber about the future of Riggs and health care.

  • Current and former Austen Riggs Center staff share their thoughts on the passing of Ben Barber, PhD, longtime member of the Erikson Institute Council of Scholars.

    We were deeply saddened to learn that Ben Barber, PhD, a longtime member of the Erikson Institute Council of Scholars, died last week, following a four-month battle with cancer. Ben participated as a speaker on several occasions at Fall Conferences and he was passionate about the Erikson Institute and the ways he wanted Riggs to develop a voice in the wider world about identity, citizenship, and democracy. He passionately insisted on a vision for the Erikson Institute that included a sociopolitical perspective, feeling that our work with patients could give us a unique perspective on small and large group processes.

  • 13 Reasons Why – A Clinical Perspective on Media Responsibility

    Although 13 Reasons Why is rated TV-MA in the US, the amount of publicity the show has received has served to draw in increasingly larger youthful audiences. For many adults, trying to stop younger children from watching 13 Reasons Why is like stopping a train after it’s left the station – the show is available on electronic devices, and parents who use parental controls at home can’t necessarily stop what happens with their children’s friends. Nonetheless, it’s important for youth and adults to note the MA-17 rating and treat it with respect. Most children under 17 should not watch this show, or should only watch it in the company of a trusted adult. Reading online reviews, it’s clear very young adolescents are watching 13 Reasons Why, and parents and educators should be aware of this.

  • 13 Reasons Why – A Clinical Perspective on the Graphic Depiction of Suicide.

    13 Reasons Why, a Netflix drama series based on the book of the same name by Jay Asher, continues to rise in popularity since its release at the end of March, particularly with teenage audiences. With a compelling storyline and a talented cast, it’s easy to see the attractions of the show. It’s also a controversial show, in that its focus is the gradual progression toward suicide of its main character, Hannah Baker.

  • David Mintz, MD presents at the APA meeting

    Later this month, Riggs clinicians will be presenting in San Diego, CA, at the 2017 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry (AAPDP) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Riggs will also be exhibiting at the APA annual meeting.

  • Erin Seery, MD, 2015 PsychSign Presenter

    Psychiatry Fellow Dr. Erin Seery talks about one of the unique benefits the Austen Riggs Center offers its Fellows: support for two years of personal analysis.

  • Lisa Barksdale-Shaw, JD, PhD is the current Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Lisa Barksdale-Shaw, JD, PhD, Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center from September to December 2016, reflects on her time at Riggs, what she worked on while she was here, and what she learned.



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