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.
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.
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.
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.
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.