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.
Dame Gillian Lynne is Broadway Royalty. She choreographed Cats and Phantom of the Opera, and at 88 is still dancing, but the story of the start of her career, told on NPR in a story on Weekend Edition Saturday, is a cautionary tale about the danger of viewing problems in psychiatry through the lens of vulnerability rather than plasticity. By the time Gillian was 7, her mother and her teachers were at their wits end with little “wriggle bottom,” who could not sit still and had no attention span.
In his remarkable and thorough piece on the open setting, Riggs’ staff psychologist John Muller, Ph.D. reflects on the meaning of the open setting at Riggs, the implications it has for treatment, both for patients and staff, and the importance of maintaining the open setting for the benefit of the treatment.
The work at Riggs, which places the dignity of the patient at its center, is difficult but rewarding. When we look inward, it is easy to become absorbed in that work and sometimes to feel a deep sense of accomplishment. When we look outward, we have the opportunity to engage those around us in a learning dialogue, but we also encounter the enormity of the problems within mental health more broadly.
The Austen Riggs Center is excited to announce the emergence of a new generation of leaders who have been listening, learning and developing at Riggs for the past fifteen to twenty years. These new leaders represent both change and stability. A careful plan was developed to conduct this transition in leadership and incorporated throughout 2013 and early 2014. New leaders are in place and actively engaging in their work.