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PTSD/ Trauma

  • Crying Girl

    The face of a two-year-old Honduran girl, dwarfed by the adults who only appear as legs in the photo, communicates undeniable anguish. Used to represent the horror of children separated from their parents at the US-Mexican border, the photo became a lightning rod for controversy when it turned out that this particular child was not actually separated from her mother.

  • Psychotherapy

    We focus on the whole person, including the trauma. “We try to learn from a person’s relationships—past and present. We try to understand the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that come up in relationships, some of which otherwise might sabotage treatment,” she says.  People with complex trauma histories often become reactive to relationships in ways they don’t understand. We try to help them understand and organize themselves so they can stay in treatment and approach their trauma in a safe way. 

  • Dr. Christina Biedermann, staff psychologist at Austen Riggs Center

    “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the body’s physical and emotional response to extreme stress,” explains Dr. Christina Biedermann, staff psychologist at Austen Riggs Center.  That stress is triggered by a life-threatening event, either a single incident, such as a car accident, or chronic trauma, such as military combat, abuse or chaotic relationships. 

  • Jeb Fowler, PhD Fellow in Psychology

    “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is diagnosed when clusters of symptoms get in the way of a person living the life they want to over time,” says Dr. Christina Biedermann, staff psychologist at Austen Riggs Center. 

  • As we take a moment to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice, we reflect on what we have learned and what they have taught us about their experiences, their struggles, and their resilience.

    As we take a moment to thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice, we reflect on what we have learned and what they have taught us about their experiences, their struggles, and their resilience.

  • Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

    The opioid epidemic is a special problem among those with mental disorders. Of 115 million opioid prescriptions distributed annually in the US, more than half were received by the 16% of Americans with mental disorders (Davis et. al 2017). The Austen Riggs Center doesn’t offer primary addiction treatment, but about half our patients, like Karen*, have a substance use disorder as part of a complicated clinical picture and have often been prescribed opioids unnecessarily.

  • Psychotherapy

    Austen Riggs Center Staff Psychologist Dr. Jeremy Ridenour talks about the symptoms of psychosis.

  • Katie Lewis, PhD, is a research psychologist at the Austen Riggs Center.

    According to a recent report by the CDC, suicide rates have consistently increased over the last 15 years in the United States. Sources of risk for suicide attempts, which include both factors that are malleable (such as hopelessness) and those that are not (such as family history of suicide), have contributed to the development of multiple screening measures for suicide; however, the evaluation of risk factors alone has been shown to have limited efficacy in predicting individual suicide attempts. The fact remains that it is extraordinarily difficult to understand, let alone predict, the situations and influences that bring a person to try to take his or her life.

  • In making the diagnosis of a personality disorder, a clinician takes into account a full, thoughtful assessment not just of symptoms, but also of all the relevant psychological, social, and relational information.

    In thinking about borderline personality disorder, it's important to think about the individuality of the person carrying the diagnosis. A person with BPD isn't "a borderline," but is a person first and foremost. In making the diagnosis of a personality disorder, a clinician takes into account a full, thoughtful assessment not just of symptoms, but also of all the relevant psychological, social, and relational information.

  • The Austen Riggs Center treatment approach is based on four-times weekly individual psychotherapy.

    The field is learning that psychiatric diagnosis is not as straightforward as in the rest of medicine and surgery, where making the single right diagnosis points toward the likely effective treatment.

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