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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    According to the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guideline on Borderline Personality Disorder, the most effective treatment modality is not medication, but psychotherapy. This is why we make intensive individual psychodynamic psychotherapy a foundation of every treatment at Riggs.

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    Just down the road from the main Riggs campus is a small historic building where professional artists offer individual instruction and workshops in fiber arts, woodworking, ceramics and visual arts to Riggs patients.

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    Margaret Kotarba, LICSW, explains the role of the social worker and the value of the family's involvement in the treatment.

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    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about what makes Riggs unique. This is the fourth blog in the series, written by Dianne Heckman, Primary Charge Nurse.

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    The Erikson Institute, the educational, research and application arm of the Austen Riggs Center, is pleased to announce its interdisciplinary and educational offerings for 2014.

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    In 2013, the Austen Riggs Center conducted a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in order to identify and evaluate the key mental health needs of the communities we serve. The assessment was completed in response to emerging federal regulatory requirements, and served to deepen our understanding of the needs present in our community.

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    On December 31, 2013 John P. Muller, PhD stepped away from his job of twenty years as the Director of Training. He has left his erudite and sensible mark on a generation of Fellows who have developed as psychotherapists and, indeed, as human beings under his tutelage.

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    Whenever a person or persons belonging to a group carry out a task related to the larger group’s functioning, there exists the possibility for thoughts, feelings, and experiences to be split off and dissociated, held by the subgroup. When those experiences are threatening, as they are in war, this provides some sense of security to the larger group. It is, however, a false and brittle sense of safety that leaves everyone vulnerable.

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    Congratulations to Dr. M. Gerard Fromm for the recent review by Michael Shulman in the October 2013 publication of the Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Shulman gives Lost in Transmission: Studies of Trauma Across Generations, which Dr. Fromm edited, a detailed and very favorable review.

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    Dr. Edward Shapiro, former Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center delivered a moving talk during the reunion weekend. He spoke about the central aspects of the treatment at Austen Riggs and how relationships and the open setting are crucial to the knowledge developed at Riggs for staff and patients. The negotiation between patients taking up their authority and finding their voice within a community and staff learning to sharpen their capacities to listen develops a deeper clarity in our work with one another and has large implications in the world outside of Riggs.

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