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  • Poor relationship quality and reduced frequency of social contact during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with greater reports of loneliness and disturbed sleep patterns, both of which could contribute to declines in mental and physical health, according to preliminary findings of a study by Austen Riggs Center Research Psychologist Katie Lewis, PhD.  

  • 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.  

  • 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.  

  • 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.  

  • You are invited to participate in a research study on experiences of loneliness and boredom in response to social distancing related to the novel COVID-19 virus pandemic, entitled “Loneliness and Social Distancing.”

    Austen Riggs Center Research Psychologist Katie Lewis, PhD, provides an update on her Loneliness and Social Distancing Research Study. 

     

  • In March, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The order was for all non-essential businesses to close, for residents to limit unnecessary travel, and recommendations were given about social distancing. Designated as an essential behavioral healthcare facility, the Austen Riggs Center is adhering to the state guidelines. Riggs stopped taking new admissions, began using video conferencing for some group and individual meetings, restricted visitors from coming on campus, and instructed patients that they could no longer travel back and forth from the outside community to the Riggs campus. 

  • Dr, Fromm - Senior Consultant, Erikson Institute for Education and Research

    For nearly two months the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we relate to each other.  Work life and social life have changed. We are farther apart and have to find new ways to be together.  In that process, emotional challenges and stresses face everyone, and take their toll on the more vulnerable.  The 4X4@4:00 “Talking It Through” series creates an online forum on select Monday afternoons for panelists and members of the general public to explore the psychological impact of what we’re going through and to make new connections, both with each other and in our understanding of these challenges. 

  • Loneliness and Social Distancing Research Study Overview

    In this video blog, Austen Riggs Research Psychologist Dr. Katie Lewis gives an overview of the Loneliness and Social Distancing Research Study that she is conducting. 

  • Dr. Katie Lewis Writes About the Psychological Impact of Social Distancing.

    Right now, the physical health and well-being of the country depend on our adherence to the recent and ongoing implementation of social distancing (SD) in communities across the globe to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). However, the current scale of SD is unprecedented and may lead to significant and lasting negative psychological effects.

  • Can Wearable technology answer questions about the links among social interactions, the quality of our sleep, and suicide risk?

    Wearable technology is providing us with an unprecedented amount of information about our health, activity, and our habits. Now they may help answer some pressing questions about the links among social interactions, the quality of our sleep, and suicide risk. Austen Riggs Center Research Assistant Fiona Brown explains some of what may be possible and what it is like to wear one particular device being used in a newly-funded NIMH study. 

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