Erik Erikson once famously said: “I have nothing to offer except a way of looking at things.” But the serious attention Erikson gave to context turned out to provide an extremely powerful set of lenses for psychodynamic clinical work. One way to describe the mission of the Austen Riggs Center is that it focuses on the treatment and study of the individual in context – not only the context of the patient’s therapeutic relationships , but also the contexts of life cycle, family, community, history and culture.
True to the core of Erikson’s work, the Erikson Scholar Program aims to create and maintain a steady flow of ideas between scholars and clinicians on topics that take up the interaction between the internal and external worlds, that have the potential to enrich our understanding of each, and that might have application to larger societal problems. Inquiry into the nature of psychosocial experience, the relationship of the individual to culture and history, the role of trauma, the dynamics of identity and the place of community are broad examples of the areas in which the Erikson Scholar program honors and extends the legacy of Erikson’s important contribution to the field of psychoanalysis and to the Center during his ten years on the staff.
This endowed scholar-in-residence program brings scholars to the Center to carry out their research projects in conversation with the clinical staff. Scholars are selected both for the centrality of their theme to the work of the staff and for the potential of that work to enrich and be enriched by interaction with the clinical program. Academicians, clinicians and other professionals are invited into the clinical and intellectual life of the Center through participation in seminars, lectures, case discussions and other interdisciplinary activities, including the Erikson Institute-Williams College Study Group and Interdisciplinary Forums.
In addition to mental health professionals, academicians in the fields of anthropology, history, law, literary criticism, political science, sociology and other relevant disciplines are encouraged to apply. Generally, scholars are in residence at the Center for a period of fourteen weeks. The position includes a stipend, housing, administrative support, and use of the Center’s library.
To apply, please send a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, two letters of recommendation, proposed project description, a recent publication related to the project, and a statement indicating how interaction with ARC’s clinical work would be important to the project’s development. For further information, and to submit an application, please contact: Virginia Demos, Ed.D. , Erikson Scholar Search Committee Chair, Box 962, Stockbridge, MA 01262.