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.

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    In this six-part series exploring trauma, we will present excerpts from a longer interview with E. Virginia Demos, EdD, a member of the clinical staff at the Austen Riggs Center and an authority on trauma. At the end of the series, we will make the interview, in its entirety, available in our Resource Center. 

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    Over the last two decades, there have been considerable pressures across American mental health care, to close and lock psychiatric facilities.  This has been driven by reimbursement models that hold hospital treatment to be unnecessary, unless the patient requires incarceration.  Further pressure to close treatment settings derive from a litigious culture which promotes a defensive practice of medicine.  In the face of these pressures, however, we at Riggs have maintained the highest commitment to the preservation of a completely open setting.  Why take these risks?

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    The final stage is a very cautious, slow, opening up of hope for something different, namely to come out of hiding, and trusting that maybe, just maybe they can be safe in the world beyond the therapy. That can be a terrifying moment, because they have spent years protecting themselves, by not allowing themselves to hope for something, or to trust someone in an intimate relationship.

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