Clinical Program Overview

Patients who engage with their treatment team and with each other can find new solutions, develop self-acceptance and deal with obstacles to growth, development and the ability to work, play and love.

Psychotherapy, Psychopharmacology, Social Work Services Remain Consistent Throughout a Patient’s Stay.

Psychotherapy: Patients at Riggs participate in four-times-weekly intensive individual psychodynamic psychotherapy with a psychiatrist or psychologist on staff. By translating the meaning of symptoms, therapy helps patients acknowledge, bear and put into perspective painful life experiences. 

Psychopharmacology: Many patients entering Austen Riggs have been labeled “treatment-resistant,” having tried and failed multiple previous treatments. Often individuals are on numerous medications that offer little relief. While modern psychopharmacologic intervention is a key part of the treatment program, our unique approach to medication management, called “psychodynamic psychopharmacology,” attends to the meaning of medications and relies on the patient to be an active participant in assessing the effectiveness of medications. Specialized psychopharmacologic consultation is provided as needed.

Social Work Services and Family Involvement: With the patient’s permission, families can contribute to a more successful treatment for their loved one in several important ways. First, families join in understanding the importance of collaboration in managing the potential risks of treatment in an open setting. Second, families provide a detailed history to the therapist and social worker, helping to clarify the patient’s central issues and conflicts. When indicated, the therapist and social worker may recommend periodic family meetings or family therapy to address issues that surface during therapy. The social worker also serves as the liaison between the treatment team and family members, providing basic education, answering questions and giving updates, with the patient’s participation and consent.