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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    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.”  This is the third blog in the series written by Terry Owens-Gilbert, Senior Admissions Coordinator.

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    One of the largest associations of psychoanalytic professionals and scholars in the world, Division 39 of the American Psychological Association (APA) has more than 3,000 doctoral level psychologists, graduate students and allied mental health professional members. 

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    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.”  This is the second blog in the series written by Elizabeth Weinberg, MD

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    Last year at the 2014 FPS Spring CME Meeting, Riggs clinician David Mintz, MD, presented Meaning and Medication: The Psychodynamics of Effective Psychopharmacology. This year, Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP, Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center, will be presenting: Suicide Risk Assessment: State of the Art, Sunday, April 19, 2015, from 8:30 —10:00 am.  Suicide assessment is both a science and an art. Understanding the risk and protective factors associated with suicide, as well as having a systematic way of assessing the potentially suicidal patient will be the focus of this talk.

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    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.” Over the next few weeks you will read entries from a diverse field of respondents. Congratulations to Ellen Broderick, Therapeutic Community Center Education Coordinator, for creating the winning blog entry.

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    Partnering with the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center presented Running From Crazy as a community-wide event on suicide, stigma and mental health. The event featured, an appearance by Mariel Hemingway, who co-produced the documentary about her family’s experience with suicide and mental illness. Though the stigma surrounding mental illness in general persists, nowhere is it more evident than in its relationship with suicide.

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    At the heart of Dr. Peterson’s current book-in-progress, Ghosts: A Story of Love and Death with Chimpanzees in the Middle, is the real life story of a woman whose accidental death, during a research project studying Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees in Africa, reverberates throughout the rest of the international research team. Told from the perspective of the survivors, Dr. Peterson calls the story “a complex psychological case history of grief and depression.” 

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

    A Commentary by Toronto based historian of psychiatry, Edward Shorter, PhD has just been published in Psychiatric Times. Dr. Shorter’s provocative comments often but not always miss the mark, but nowhere are they more offensive, misinformed and misguided than in his attack on the biopsychosocial model and on psychoanalysis, which he compares to witchcraft. He asserts that the mental health system would benefit if both of these were dropped.

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    There is an important and necessary conversation happening about mental illness in the US and around the world. We are talking about mental illness and suicide more than we have in the past, studying it more than we have in the past and, in some senses, understanding it more than we have in the past. And it is not just researchers or psychologists and psychiatrists who are talking. 

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