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.
Now in the second year of its latest and reimagined form, the Austen Riggs Nursery School continues to be a lively, vibrant space for preschoolers to learn, explore and grow, developing a strong foundation that will carry them into kindergarten. Likewise, it is a space where patients at the Austen Riggs Center work as interns and aides, experiencing childhood through the lens of the nearly three year-old to six year-olds who attend the Nursery School.
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.
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 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.