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.

  • Community meeting

    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.”  This is the second blog in the series written by Elizabeth Weinberg, MD, Staff Ps

  • Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP, Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research

    Last year at the 2014 FPS Spring CME Meeting, Riggs clinician David Mintz, MD, presented Meaning and Medication: The Psychodynamics of Effective Psychopharmacology. This year, Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP, Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center, will be presenting: Suicide Risk Assessment: State of the Art, Sunday, April 19, 2015, from 8:30 —10:00 am.  Suicide assessment is both a science and an art. Understanding the risk and protective factors associated with suicide, as well as having a systematic way of assessing the potentially suicidal patient will be the focus of this talk.

  • CEB Board

    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.” Over the next few weeks you will read entries from a diverse field of respondents. Congratulations to Ellen Broderick, Therapeutic Community Center Education Coordinator, for creating the winning blog entry.

  • Berkshire Community Diaper Project
  • Running From Crazy - Mariel Hemingway

    Partnering with the Berkshire International Film Festival (BIFF), the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center presented Running From Crazy as a community-wide event on suicide, stigma and mental health. The event featured, an appearance by Mariel Hemingway, who co-produced the documentary about her family’s experience with suicide and mental illness. Though the stigma surrounding mental illness in general persists, nowhere is it more evident than in its relationship with suicide.

  • Erikson Scholar, Dale Peterson, PhD

    At the heart of Dr. Peterson’s current book-in-progress, Ghosts: A Story of Love and Death with Chimpanzees in the Middle, is the real life story of a woman whose accidental death, during a research project studying Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees in Africa, reverberates throughout the rest of the international research team. Told from the perspective of the survivors, Dr. Peterson calls the story “a complex psychological case history of grief and depression.” 

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych, Associate Medical Director and Director of Admissions

    A Commentary by Toronto based historian of psychiatry, Edward Shorter, PhD has just been published in Psychiatric Times. Dr. Shorter’s provocative comments often but not always miss the mark, but nowhere are they more offensive, misinformed and misguided than in his attack on the biopsychosocial model and on psychoanalysis, which he compares to witchcraft. He asserts that the mental health system would benefit if both of these were dropped.

  • Mariel Hemingway

    There is an important and necessary conversation happening about mental illness in the US and around the world. We are talking about mental illness and suicide more than we have in the past, studying it more than we have in the past and, in some senses, understanding it more than we have in the past. And it is not just researchers or psychologists and psychiatrists who are talking. 

  • Therapeutic Relationship

    All patients begin in an evaluation and treatment phase for the first six weeks of their treatment at a residential or hospital level of care. This time is used to better understand whatever brings them to the Austen Riggs Center.

  • Community meeting

    It may be hard to imagine patients having a say in the way a hospital is run – not just an opinion about the care they received, but a real partnership with staff in engaging a range of clinical and administrative issues.  Yet this is just what happens at Riggs, where the core of the clinical program is the recognition that patients come with significant strengths as well as difficulties, and that the exercise of these strengths is as important for the patient’s prognosis as it is for the community’s daily life.  

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