Through the Erikson Institute, the Austen Riggs Center maintains important relationships with academic institutions, teaching hospitals and other psychoanalytically oriented groups and institutions. These partnerships foster mutual learning, collaborations of various kinds and new research endeavors. Current Affiliations include:
The Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute and the Erikson Institute have had a partnership since the Institute’s inception. Institute classes are held at the Center. Faculty and candidates have use of the Center’s excellent psychoanalytic library. Selected institute courses are open to Riggs staff and Fellows, and occasionally a joint seminar is held.
In the fall of 2007, the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) Psychology Department and the Erikson Institute formed an affiliation for the purpose of increasing training opportunities for CHA Pre-Doctoral Psychology Interns. The aim of the program is to augment the interns’ learning in a number of areas, including complex severe psychopathology; integrated, comprehensive, dynamic treatment; psychodynamic psychotherapy; and attention to context and systemic issues. These objectives are accomplished through twice-yearly two-day visits of the interns to Riggs and weekly psychotherapy supervision with a senior Riggs therapist.
A project initiated by Senior Erikson Scholar Vamik Volkan based on his decades of international work, the International Dialogue Initiative examines large group differences - and the emotionally charged perception of those differences - in an attempt to understand the effect of past trauma on present concerns and the contribution of large group identity anxieties to divisiveness and conflict. The Initiative is aimed at facilitating a process of deepening discussion between representatives from various nations and cultures for the purpose of learning together about these differences in perspective.
Riggs staff members affiliated with the International Dialogue Initiative include Donna Elmendorf, PhD and Distinguished Faculty members Edward Shapiro, MD, and Gerard Fromm, PhD who is the current president of the IDI.
Lacanian Clinical Forum
Chaired by founding member, John Muller, Ph.D., the Lacanian Clinical Forum meets twice yearly. The Erikson Institute hosts this meeting in the fall at Riggs; in the spring, the meeting is held in the Montreal area. The group’s task is to understand the clinical and theoretical ideas of Lacan through in-depth case discussion and interdisciplinary scholarship.
The Erikson Institute, The Ferenczi Center of the New School in New York and the Conference on the Other sponsored by Boston College in Boston have partnered to form a study group in which members from each institution gather three times a year to intensively study a paper or topic chosen in advance.
The Rapaport-Klein Study Group is a gathering of the students of (and the students of the students of) David Rapaport, Director of Research at Riggs in its early history, and George Klein, psychoanalytic theoretician, researcher and incoming Research Director at Riggs before his untimely death. The group meets annually at the Center to present psychoanalytically oriented research in progress. Given that this group is comprised of accomplished analyst-researchers, the projects presented represent the leading edge of psychodynamic research.
The Riggs-Yale partnership has a long and rich history that began under the leadership of former Austen Riggs Medical Director Dr. Robert Knight. The Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute was first launched with classes in New Haven and Stockbridge (thus coining the phrase, the "Sigmund Freud Highway" between the two locations) and with faculty including Erik Erikson and other Riggs staff members holding Yale appointments, and Linda C. Mayes, MD the Director of the Yale Child Study Center is a member of the Distinguished Faculty in the Erikson Institute. Riggs staff also give an annual Erikson Lecture in the Child Study Center’s Grand Rounds program.
Beginning in the summer of 2012, the Yale Child Study Center, the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and the Erikson Institute have joined together to host an annual conference bringing the two institutions in to conversation around shared clinical and research interests.