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Commentary/Editorial

  • Otto F. Kernberg, MD Director of the Personality Disorders Institute  New York-Presbyterian/Westchester Division

    You've surely heard of depression and anxiety and may have read about bipolar disorder. But even though it affects up to two percent of the U.S. population, borderline personality disorder, or BPD – with its erratic moods, relationships and behaviors – is far less well-known.

  • Medical office building Austen Riggs Center

    We asked current Riggs staff members to share what they enjoy about working at Riggs and received many responses, some of which are featured in this blog post.

  • Dame Gillian Lynne is Broadway Royalty. She choreographed Cats and Phantom of the Opera, and at 88 is still dancing, but the story of the start of her career, told on NPR in a story on Weekend Edition Saturday, is a cautionary tale about the danger of viewing problems in psychiatry through the lens of vulnerability rather than plasticity. By the time Gillian was 7, her mother and her teachers were at their wits end with little “wriggle bottom,” who could not sit still and had no attention span.

  • Admissions consult

    In admissions we are often asked by referrers, prospective patients and their families what the “waiting list” for admission to Riggs is all about, so it occurred to me it might make sense to explain what it is in a blog post.

  • Therapeutic Relationship

    The Austen Riggs Center has a long history of treating patients who have tried and failed to respond to previous treatment efforts.  Early on, Riggs clinicians recognized the importance of so-called “treatment resistant” psychiatric disorders and their associated societal, financial and personal burdens – including death by suicide.

  • Robin Williams

    Robin Williams’ death by suicide has drawn attention to the complicated circumstances and feelings that surround the issue of suicide.  When I started studying suicide and its effects on clinicians in 1998 I did not know that this would become a career trajectory.  Suicide back then was swept under the rug and rarely acknowledged as a professional hazard or something to be discussed much in public. 

  • Behind the Medical Office Building

    The first task of a psychotherapist is to listen. This is not as easy as it might seem.  Another person’s suffering can be hard to witness without turning away. Formal education in mental health teaches us to categorize and formulate according to patterns and principles.  These are necessary guides but they cannot fully capture the sources of an individual’s trouble nor pinpoint guaranteed cures.

  • Compass

    The New York Times this past Saturday featured an excellent editorial about anxiety disorders in adolescents by Dr. Richard Friedman, a professor of psychiatry at Weil Cornell Medical College.

  • Erikson Prize winner, Andrew Solomon

    Five years ago, the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center developed the Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media with the goal “to reward and encourage sophisticated, accessible work on mental illness and recovery, and to stimulate conversation about the broad range of mental health issues, including how to dispel stigma and promote well-being.”

  • M. Gerard Fromm, PhD, ABPP, Senior Consultant, Erikson Institute for Education and Research

    The Activities Program – offering deep engagement with one’s inner potential – is the inspiration for the annual Creativity Seminar at Riggs as well as Dr. M. Gerard Fromm’s new book, A Spirit That Impels: Play, Creativity, and Psychoanalysis. The book includes a group of papers collected over ten years from the Creativity Seminars at Riggs.

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