• Sigourney Award Winner

    The Erikson Institute for Education, Research, and Advocacy of the Austen Riggs Center has been named as a 2021 recipient of The Sigourney Award, a major psychoanalytic award.  

  • Cheryl Fromularo - social work intern at Austen Riggs.

    Education and training for mental health professionals is part of the lifeblood of the Austen Riggs Center and its Erikson Institute. We offer myriad opportunities for mental health professionals of all guilds and in spite of the necessary COVID-19 precautions Riggs needed to take to keep patients and staff safe, this spring we marked an important education milestone: our two social work interns–first-year Master's students at Smith College School for Social Work Frances Parrish and Cheryl Fromularo–successfully completed their field internships in person with us. Field internships are a hallmark of MSW education and while the pandemic necessitated many adjustments to more remote formats, Riggs is proud to have been able to offer a safe in-person internship experience at a time when few were available. 

  • Austen Riggs Center former patient Nina Gutin, PhD, reflects on her time at Riggs and what she learned while in treatment.

    I was a patient at Austen Riggs many years ago. Shortly after I “graduated,” I was asked to help start a patient “Alumni” network at Riggs, which is still ongoing. I decided to become a psychologist myself and now maintain an involvement with Austen Riggs on a professional level. With the perspective of someone who has been “on both sides of the couch,” I have strong feelings about my treatment then, and for what continues to pass as “treatment as usual” in the majority of contemporary treatment settings.  

  • Nina Gutin, PhD, writes about the importance of speaking up about suicide and me

    Austen Riggs Center former patient Nina Gutin, PhD, writes about the importance of speaking up about suicide and mental health struggles. 

  • 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.  

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

    This submission summarizes the place of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in the US health care system. It addresses trends in the field, tensions between biomedical and biopsychosocial models of mental and substance use disorders, and summarizes top-down legislative and bottom-up judicial actions that impact access to psychosocial treatments for mental and substance use disorders.

  • Aspects of relying on Zoom in a residential treatment center. 

    When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had to adapt quickly. Both the virus and our adaptations to it shook the foundations of the Riggs community. The virus turns every person into a potential hazard to every other person; anyone could be a silent unwitting conduit. So many people already harbor anxiety about being harmed by others or about accidentally harming them–this harm is now perilously close to becoming real. The virus becomes a symbol for the dangers of other people.  

  • Is there Evidence that Psychoanalytic Treatment Works?

    Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, talks about what psychotherapy can expect after the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  • 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.”  



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