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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    Jeb Fowler, PhD Fellow in Psychology

    “He would remember feeling how impossible it was. He would remember the heat, the voltage in his arms and wrists. Why? He thought, but he didn’t know. All he knew was fury.”

    - Lake in the Woods, by Tim O’Brien

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    Erik Erikson famously wrote about identity. He indicated that a central negotiation required developing an increasing congruence between your views of yourself and the views others have of you. Learning to ‘see yourself as others see you’, as the poet Robert Burns put it, is a major developmental achievement not easily accomplished. A recognizable and accepted identity allows us to live more freely in the social world.

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    It is not uncommon to find people who have spent a decade or two working at the Austen Riggs Center. There are even some who have spent 30 years tending to the mission and work. But Richard Q. Ford, PhD, who recently retired as the coordinator of psychological testing at Riggs, cultivated a 43-year relationship with Riggs as a fellow, a staff psychologist, a researcher and, for the last 20 years, as the coordinator of psychological testing. 

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    “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the body’s physical and emotional response to extreme stress,” explains Dr. Christina Biedermann, staff psychologist at Austen Riggs Center.  That stress is triggered by a life-threatening event, either a single incident, such as a car accident, or chronic trauma, such as military combat, abuse or chaotic relationships. 

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    The Austen Riggs Center will be featured on the television program, Innovations, hosted by award winning actor Ed Begley, Jr., with an initial airing Monday, August 25, 7:00am EDT, on the Discovery Channel. 

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    Robin Williams’ death by suicide has drawn attention to the complicated circumstances and feelings that surround the issue of suicide.  When I started studying suicide and its effects on clinicians in 1998 I did not know that this would become a career trajectory.  Suicide back then was swept under the rug and rarely acknowledged as a professional hazard or something to be discussed much in public. 

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    On a beautiful afternoon, Friday, June 27, co-workers and friends gathered to celebrate Barbara Turner Hart, MSN, nurse educator for the last 10 years at Riggs, as she retired from a 42-year career in nursing, 18 of which were spent at Riggs.

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    Enchantment Theater

    In translation, there is a source that is changed or clarified to create something that communicates information in a way we can better understand. What happens in the space between the source and what is created was the topic of much discussion during the annual Creativity Seminar at Riggs on August 1-2, 2014. 

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    At a luncheon on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 16, 2014, the Austen Riggs Center awarded three graduating high school seniors the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Scholarship. 

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    Not everyone knows this, but there is a well-curated library at the Austen Riggs Center that features numerous volumes related to psychodynamic thought, psychotherapy and analytically informed studies. Available as a resource for many local clinicians and mental health professionals, including the staff at Riggs, this collection contains a veritable wealth of information. 

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