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  • Austen Riggs Center Greenhouse Instructor Sandy Dawson talks about the role of gardening and the greenhouse as part of the Activities Program at Riggs.

    Those beautiful flowers on the tables, the well-tended plants in the Inn, the delicious vegetables prepared in the kitchen—Austen Riggs has its own “garden-to-table” initiative, courtesy of patients who tend plants in our greenhouse and garden as students of Greenhouse Instructor Sandy Dawson.

  • 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. 

  • Community meeting

    Austen Riggs Center staff members share why their work makes a difference.

  • Erikson Institute

    The Erikson Institute of the Austen Riggs Center is pleased to announce the following two events this week, both free and open the public and both being held at the Austen Riggs Center.

  • Laura M. Morrell, LICSW, is a clinical social worker at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Clinical social work is an integral part of the interdisciplinary psychodynamic treatment approach at the Austen Riggs Center. 

    Hear Laura M. O’Neill, LICSW, speak about the multifaceted role of the clinical social worker at Riggs. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • Austen Riggs Center staff member Dr. Claudia Gold is part on the Human Development Strategic Initiative.

    When world-renowned child development researcher Dr. Ed Tronick spoke in April 2018 for a mixed audience of Austen Riggs staff and community members who work with children and families, he began with a quote from Steven Hawking, “One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. . . .Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”

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