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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    Beginning Wednesday, December 10 and continuing through Sunday, December 14, Riggs Theatre 37 is staging a production of The Master and Margarita, based on the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. These performances are the culmination of ten intensive weeks of planning, preparation, instruction and rehearsal, stewarded by long-time Riggs Theatre Director (and Shakespeare and Company Education Director) Kevin G. Coleman. 

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    “The use and consequences approach we utilize examines not only the individual consequences of substance use, but the consequences to a patient’s family, friends or community, whether here at Riggs or elsewhere.” – Michael Sugarman, CADC II, substance use disorder counselo

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    The current Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center, Annie Rogers, PhD, is many things. She is a professor of psychoanalysis and clinical psychology at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in Ireland, a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University and a Whiting Fellowship at Hampshire College. She is the author of A Shining Affliction (1995) and The Unsayable: The Hidden Language of Trauma (2006), as well as academic articles, memoir, short fiction and poetry. She is a scholar, a teacher, an artist.

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    Taking place on December 2, 2014 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday will use social media to create a global moment for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and the spirit of giving. Similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping, now we have a day dedicated to giving back. This year, the Austen Riggs Center is proud to be a #GivingTuesday partner and to join in this celebration of philanthropy.

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    Libraries continue to serve a vital function in communities both large and small and the Austen Riggs Inn Library is no exception. Because it is only open to the patient community, it contains and retains a unique reflection of the evolving sensibilities, likes and dislikes of Riggs patients. Located in the Inn, where all Riggs patients live for at least the first six weeks of their treatment, the one-room space itself is relatively small, but the ample seating and diverse collection make it both a comfortable and convenient place for patients to spend time. 

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    “Our patients often struggle alone with serious secret and shameful self-doubt, and therapy offers a private space to form a relationship, come to trust someone and be less alone with their pain.” – Eric Plakun, MD, director of admissions and associate medical director

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    With hundreds of choices throughout the country, how does one decide which psychiatric facility will work for them? What is it about the Austen Riggs Center that is different from other places?

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    "Patients come here as human beings with their strengths and weaknesses, but often in a place that makes it difficult for them to hold onto their strengths.  The therapeutic community provides an opportunity and space for patients to be more than their illness, more than a patient, to find and utilize their strengths."  Brenda St. Pierre, centerwide community coordinator and IRP-N/G program manager

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    This year’s Winter Chats and Lecture series at Riggs (open to staff and patients) began with the music of the written language; current Erikson Scholar, Annie Rogers, PhD, professor of psychoanalysis and clinical psychology as well as a watercolor painter and published poet, shared some of her own poems, spoke about her creative process and led us through an engaging and evocative group writing exercise during her talk, “Poetry: Writing into the Unknown.” 

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    The admission process is designed to determine whether Riggs is right for a prospective patient and whether a prospective patient is right for Riggs.

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