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.

  • A Library Run for and by the Patient Community at Riggs

    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. 

  • Therapeutic Relationship

    “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

  • Austen Riggs Center

    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?

  • Building a relationship

    "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

  • Annie Rogers, PhD, explores psychosis and the enigma of language

    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.” 

  • Eric Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych in admission consultation

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

  • Lewis Hyde, Erikson Scholar

    “It has been a pleasure to be in a community where there is an ongoing conversation about how the past effects the present,” remarked Lewis Hyde, a recent Erikson Scholar. Interestingly, the book Lewis Hyde is working on explores the function of forgetting elements of the past as we craft our present personal narratives and make sense of, and find meaning in, the lives we live.

  • Austen Riggs Nursery School

    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. 

  • The importance of giving

    Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Janet Cooperman Hiser, MSW, talks about what motivates people to give to the Austen Riggs Center.

  • Dame Gillian Lynne is Broadway Royalty. She choreographed Cats and Phantom of the Opera, and at 88 is still dancing, but the story of the start of her career, told on NPR in a story on Weekend Edition Saturday, is a cautionary tale about the danger of viewing problems in psychiatry through the lens of vulnerability rather than plasticity. By the time Gillian was 7, her mother and her teachers were at their wits end with little “wriggle bottom,” who could not sit still and had no attention span.

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