• Eric M. Plakun, MD, is the Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center.

    In November of 2016, Dr. Eric M. Plakun’s first piece as psychotherapy columnist for the Journal of Psychiatric Practice was published. You can read this piece and his more recent columns here.

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych

    The Austen Riggs Center is pleased to announce the re-election of Medical Director/CEO Eric Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych, to serve his second three-year term as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Area 1 Trustee*. 

  • In November 2020, a federal magistrate issued a stinging rebuke to the United Behavioral Health division of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest behavioral health insurer, saying it could no longer use its overly restrictive guidelines to deny mental health and substance use treatment and compelled them to reprocess over 50,000 claims. 

    In this video, Austen Riggs Medical Director and CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, who served as plaintiffs’ expert in Wit v. United Behavioral Health, details how the order hands clinicians and professional groups a powerful tool to reclaim their role in determining access to care for patients.   

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

    Who is residential treatment meant for? This is a question we hear often and the answer is not always straightforward. However, if you seriously struggle with relationships and have difficulty interacting with friends, family, co-workers, and others, you may benefit from residential treatment. These kinds of struggles can be a sign of impaired social learning, and interventions such as one-on-one sessions with a therapist alone may not be enough. In such instances, intermediate levels of care like residential treatment can help you build social learning capacity by being immersed in a community of peers and providers with many opportunities for sustained interaction and relationship-building.  

  • Dr. Eric Plakun spoke at the Austen Riggs Center Centennial Conference: The Mental Health Crisis in America.

    This video series is taken from our Centennial Conference and features excerpts from many of the presentations – check back often or bookmark the Riggs Blog to see new videos.

    “There is an excessive focus on the biomedical at the expense of the biopsychosocial. . . . there are false assumptions that genes equal disease, that patients have single disorders that respond to single evidence-based treatments, that pills are the best treatment that we have.” states Dr. Plakun.

  • Nancy McWilliams, PhD, spoke at the Austen Riggs Center's 2019 Fall Conference: The Mental Health Crisis in America.

    Psychoanalysis “looks holistically and unflinchingly at complex phenomena that contemporary trends are fragmenting” remarks Dr. Nancy McWilliams in these select remarks from her presentation, “Standing for Reality: What Really Matters in Psychotherapy.”  

  • Tom Insel, MD, gave a keynote presentation at the Austen Riggs Center's Centennial Conference: The Mental Health Crisis in America.

    Moving the needle on the mental health crisis demands new (and old) solutions, argues Tom Insel, MD, in these select remarks from his keynote presentation, “Beyond Magical Thinking.”  

  • Exploring the Impact of Client Suicides on Clinicians

    An exploration of the development of psychoanalysis in North America in the November 1 issues of Psychiatric News

  • Family relationships, even going back several generations, are almost always a crucial aspect of treatment in the open setting at Austen Riggs.

    Freedom from Dehumanizing Treatment is one of the Four Freedoms that is a foundation of mental health. Dehumanizing treatment is different from stigma, which is another of the Four Freedoms of Mental Health, as it refers to treatment itself as opposed to more general beliefs, attitudes, and actions related to stigma in the larger world. 

    Dehumanizing treatment includes: unnecessary restriction, seclusion, or restraint of those struggling with mental disorders; treating mentally ill individuals as merely a diagnosis rather than full people; or treatment that regards patients as mouths to swallow pills instead of people with stories that are meaningful. Underfunding mental health treatment generally is the result of stigma, but this results in dehumanizing treatment. 

  • Photos from the Austen Riggs Center’s Centennial Conference-The Mental Health Crisis in America: Recognizing Problems, Working Toward Solutions.

    The Austen Riggs Center welcomed more than 200 individuals to our Centennial Conference–The Mental Health Crisis in America: Recognizing Problems, Working Toward Solutions–at Tanglewood’s new Linde Center for Music and Learning.



Subscribe to RSS - Psychiatry