Open Setting

  • Heather Forouhar Graff, MD, is a staff psychiatrist in psychoanalytic studies at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Dr. Heather Forouhar Graff, a psychiatry Fellow at the Austen Riggs Center, talks about some of the long-term benefits for psychiatry Fellows who train and practice in Riggs’ unique setting. 

  • The Austen Riggs Center has a therapeutic community in an open treatment setting.

    Entering the open setting here at Riggs produces a kind of culture shock—this holds for patients, for their families, and for new staff. As a psychiatric hospital, Riggs is unique, and it is the open setting that makes it unique: no locked wards, no security guards, no pass system. Patients have cars, hold jobs, come and go to college, sit (or work) in the coffee shop down the street.

  • Conference

    The Therapeutic Community Program at the Austen Riggs Center provides an opportunity for patients to share their strengths with one another and with the staff in a partnership of mutual problem solving and learning. This exploration of strengths has, in different ways, always been a key component of the treatment philosophy from Riggs’ founding in 1919 to its present form today. 

  • Director of Admissions Dr. Samar Habl talks about the admissions process and who should consider treatment at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Samar Habl, MD, director of admissions at the Austen Riggs Center, talks about who should consider treatment at Riggs, what the admissions process entails, and the importance of negotiating a partnership during the admissions consultation.

  • The Austen Riggs Center is a psychiatric treatment hospital with an open setting.

    As we approach the end of 2017, we thought we’d look back over some of our more popular blogs and blog series from this year.

    Here are five of the most popular blogs from October through December of this year.

  • Austen Riggs Center Admissions Brochure - Learn More.

    Austen Riggs Center Admissions Brocure and Orientation for Families describing treatment for complex psychiatric problems now available online.

  • Medical Director/CEO Andrew J. Gerber, MD, PhD, talks about what the open setting at the Austen Riggs Center stands for and what it has to offer in today’s mental health landscape.

  • The Austen Riggs Center is an open psychiatric treatment setting located in Stockbridge, MA.

    Locked psychiatric units are no better than open units at preventing suicide, according to a large 15-year observational study published this month in the British medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry. In addition, the results of the study suggest that patients in open units are less likely to attempt suicide or to run away from the hospital (with or without returning) than patients in locked units.

  • Samar Habl, MD is the director of admissions at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.

    Samar Habl, MD, newly appointed director of admissions at the Austen Riggs Center talks about the role of the family in the admissions process.

  • Patients and staff were given puzzle pieces during the open setting seminar and asked to place their piece in a large puzzle.

    Listening, questioning and “opening things up” are values central both to the clinical work at Riggs and to the way the Riggs community of patients and staff work together in an open setting that is devoid of locks or privilege systems. It is “the intangibles that allow us to keep it open,” says David Mintz, MD, team leader and staff psychiatrist at Riggs.



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