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.

  • National Nurses Week 2014

    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.

  • Erikson Institute

    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.

  • Stockbridge Main Street

    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.

  • John P. Muller, PhD

    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.

  • Linda Cardellini in the film RETURN

    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.

  • Lost in Transmission book cover

    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.

  • Dr. Edward Shapiro, former Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center

    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.

  • Addiction

    If you tuned into cable news during the last month you may have seen two more politicians engulfed in scandal. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was caught smoking crack and Congressman Trey Radel (R-FL) was caught buying cocaine. The recent events have sparked extensive coverage in the media, political discussions and ample material for comedians. It seems that politicians behaving badly creates a place for society to wrestle with views on addiction and individual responsibility.

  • The theater at Austen Riggs

    Part of the rich history of the Austen Riggs Center is the impact and work of Erik Erikson. We also have his spouse, Joan Erikson, to thank for making a lasting and meaningful impact on our treatment model and on the patients who benefit from being at the Center.

  • Train tracks

    Since many of us at Riggs and in the Berkshires are periodic users of Metro North trains for travel into New York City, we have followed with great concern and sadness the tragic crash of a Metro North train in the Bronx last week. How awful that four died and so many sustained injuries that early morning. Our thoughts and condolences go out to all the victims—including the engineer.



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