Admissions Process

OPEN FOR ADMISSIONS: The Austen Riggs Center has put in place new COVID-19 screening protocols to resume admissions and we are actively processing referrals via telephone (1-800-517-4447). 

New Admissions guidelines from the Austen Riggs Center.

The admissions process begins with the first phone call or web inquiry and concludes with the admissions consultation, the face-to-face meeting with an admissions officer to assess readiness for admission. This process can take a week or a month (or longer), depending upon how quickly the following information can be completed and reviewed by an admissions officer.

Stages in the Admissions Process:

Admissions tour

  • Gather relevant clinical and medical information necessary to assess the appropriateness of the Riggs treatment approach.
  • Review fee structure, payment policies, insurance reimbursement policy and need based fee reduction process with those individuals responsible for payment.
  • Discuss the open setting, including the importance of maintaining an alliance and the nature of voluntary hospitalization with patient.
  • Answer questions.

Because of the open setting and our focus on intensive psychodynamic therapy, we need to be sure prospective patients are reasonable candidates before moving to the admissions consultation, which usually occurs on the day of admission.

  • Does their history of suicide suggest they could be workable in a setting in which they are expected to take responsibility for keeping themselves alive? 
  • Have they been able to remain abstinent from substance use that may be confounding their treatment? 
  • Is there a complicating medical or pain-related condition we need to understand more fully so we can treat it at Riggs? 
  • Are they interested in treatment or just passively going along with someone else’s suggestion? 
  • Does a different form of treatment other than ours seem like it should be tried first? 

We also try to ensure that funding is in place to support the minimum six-week initial evaluation and treatment phase—before putting someone on the waiting list. Information on financing your stay can be found here

The director of admissions reviews all the information and, if Riggs seems potentially appropriate, makes an appointment for a consultation with possible admission. The final important step in this process is the admissions consultation. Approximately ninety (90) percent of those seen in admissions consultations are offered admission.

The Admissions Process


An important note: Active substance use disorders seriously compromise self-examination and the ability to benefit from treatment. Active substance use at the time of consultation is the most frequent reason why patients who might otherwise be suitable for treatment at Riggs are turned away. We generally require that prospective patients with substance use disorders abstain from use of alcohol and other substances of abuse for 30 days prior to admission to Riggs, preferably from the moment of first hearing about this policy.

If you have questions, please call Admissions at: 1-800-517-4447,
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., EST or contact us.