Austen Riggs Reviews

Austen Riggs Reviews

Former patients:

Read testimonials from former patients and staff of the Austen Riggs Center"When I came to Riggs, after 40 psychiatric hospitalizations, I was dying; I was like a piece of furniture. I found the intensive psychotherapy at Riggs painful, difficult, and extraordinary. The therapeutic community gave me the opportunity to see the devastating aspects of my behavior reflected in my peers. I found my best self at Riggs." Polly Schlitz, writer, actress, and former patient.

"It has been over 25 years since I was at Riggs.  Although being in a hospital is not an easy experience, I have fond memories of Riggs.  I felt safe there and was so grateful to the staff at the Lavender Door and to the nurses who gave me so much of their time, caring and support. Riggs feels like my childhood home. It is where I was raised with love and compassion and where my life began." Michele, former patient.

“My six month stay at Riggs was good for me right from the beginning…Even though I was having some really crazy thoughts at the time, I managed to see the importance of being involved in the community and I made friends and participated in the groups and meetings. The intensive therapy was the key to helping me get better.”

“I am so grateful to my doctor and to everyone at Riggs. The work I did there was so hard and painful, but I’m so much better now.”

“When I started to look into Riggs, I knew nothing about long term residential treatment. I was blown away and frightened by the lengths of stay.  Although it was clear that I was in trouble and needed more help than I was getting…The pressure of pretending to be a functioning person when my life was in chaos was lifted when I walked through the doors at Riggs.”

"I look at Riggs as the place that broke my fall."

"The thing that Riggs gave me that remains so valuable is my voice."

"What I learned as a community member at Riggs is that when things are going badly, don’t retreat and isolate – turn to the people around you.  This is what buffered me…at Riggs, and having a community and people around me is still important today."

“The help, support and friendship I experienced at the Austen Riggs Center will always be with me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t draw on what I learned about myself during my stay there.”

“Riggs changed my life in such a fundamental way.”

Former staff:

"I think of the Activities Program as an oasis – a place where patient can come and just be present.”

Former Fellows:

"There’s nowhere else in the country where you can work like this. When I thought about leaving, it led to a minor crisis. How would I go forward with clinical integrity after working in a model that made so much sense to me?"

“It’s hard to sum up neatly what I learned at Riggs – it was invaluable to me and incredibly formative as to how I am as a clinician. I learned about the central importance of a non-coercive environment in fostering greater self-responsibility…I learned that I can help my patient, to recognize what gets in the way their being able to do for themselves. In order to do that, I must listen to the entirety of what they tell me – through their words, their actions and their symptoms."

“Training at Riggs has shown me where the bar can be set in working with patient with long term struggles: our profession should hold itself to such high standards everywhere.”

“Riggs is a true north, a standard of treatment higher than any I’ve come across in all my travels through many systems.”

“What I learned at Riggs permeated and enriched my professional work as a clinician, administrator and educator throughout my career.”