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

    This is a good time for American psychiatry. After nearly a quarter century of a reductionistic focus on biology and medications as mutative factors in mental health, psychiatry is rediscovering what it had already known. New studies are regularly demonstrating the crucial importance of psychosocial factors in the treatment of a range of mental conditions.

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych, Associate Medical Director and Director of Admissions

    While the field of psychiatry drifted toward more of a biological orientation in the 1990s (“the decade of the brain”) and afterward, the Austen Riggs Center remained committed to the biopsychosocial model, and to the importance of meaning, relationships that continue over time, and respect for the authority and voice of the patient.

  • Samar Habl, MD is the director of admissions at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.

    Samar Habl, MD, newly appointed director of admissions at the Austen Riggs Center talks about the role of the family in the admissions process.

  • Nicholas Holliday, MD, assumes the role of Director of Psychopharmacology and Medical Services at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Nicholas Holliday, MD, assumes the role of Director of Psychopharmacology and Medical Services at the Austen Riggs Center. 

  • Psychological testing at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Central elements of our clinical work include understanding individuals on their own terms, understanding the sources and meanings of the problems they bring, and respecting their authority in relation to their own life goals. People live in a network of relationships: our patients often have troubled networks and they bring the troubles with them. We offer a new network of relationships with staff and other patients, in which people can get support but also re-create the troubles in a place where they can be understood and changed. 

  • Patients and staff were given puzzle pieces during the open setting seminar and asked to place their piece in a large puzzle.

    Listening, questioning and “opening things up” are values central both to the clinical work at Riggs and to the way the Riggs community of patients and staff work together in an open setting that is devoid of locks or privilege systems. It is “the intangibles that allow us to keep it open,” says David Mintz, MD, team leader and staff psychiatrist at Riggs.

  • Austen Riggs joins the NAMI 11th Annual Minds Matter Walk for Mental Health Awareness in Pittsfield, MA.

    According to their website, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” Riggs’ Medical Director/CEO Andrew J. Gerber, MD, PhD, says, “Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a key priority for the Austen Riggs Center.” 

  • David Mintz, MD, Team Leader/Staff Psychiatrist at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Despite advances in neurobiology and drug development, and increasing pressure to deliver “evidence-based” psychiatric care, studies show many patients living with psychiatric illness remain resistant to psychiatric treatments. 

  • Interns in Inn Living Room

    In the this video, Primary Charge Nurse Diane Heckman, RN; Mental Health Worker Brian O'Gara; and Mental Health Worker Jennifer Morse have a conversation about how they think about “examined living” at Riggs.

  • The role of nursing in the Austen Riggs Center treatment model.

    Nursing at Riggs is different from many other psychiatric settings. In this video series, Riggs nursing staff members engage in conversation about the challenging and rewarding work they do in a completely open and voluntary setting.



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