• Community meeting

    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to write about the topic: “How My Work Makes a Difference.”  This is the second blog in the series written by Elizabeth Weinberg, MD, Staff Ps

  • Therapeutic Community Program Manager at the Austen Riggs Center, Cornelia Kalisher, LSW

    In this six-part series exploring trauma, we will present excerpts from a longer interview with E. Virginia Demos, EdD, a member of the clinical staff at the Austen Riggs Center and an authority on trauma. At the end of the series, we will make the interview, in its entirety, available in our Resource Center. 

  • Building a relationship

    Over the last two decades, there have been considerable pressures across American mental health care, to close and lock psychiatric facilities.  This has been driven by reimbursement models that hold hospital treatment to be unnecessary, unless the patient requires incarceration.  Further pressure to close treatment settings derive from a litigious culture which promotes a defensive practice of medicine.  In the face of these pressures, however, we at Riggs have maintained the highest commitment to the preservation of a completely open setting.  Why take these risks?

  • Consultation

    The final stage is a very cautious, slow, opening up of hope for something different, namely to come out of hiding, and trusting that maybe, just maybe they can be safe in the world beyond the therapy. That can be a terrifying moment, because they have spent years protecting themselves, by not allowing themselves to hope for something, or to trust someone in an intimate relationship.

  • The obscurity of trauma

    Sometimes the abuse is not evident right away even when it is quite clear that it occurred. But when we see the array of difficulties I’ve discussed —substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, disassociation, and so on —we know there’s some deep trouble somewhere—and that may be a history of abuse or trauma.

  • Self-examination in collaboration with others

    Riggs patients are competent people who come here seriously intending to improve their lives through self-examination in collaboration with others. At Riggs, an individual’s treatment plan is constructed collaboratively, rather than being prescribed and enforced by a professional. 

  • Therapeutic Relationship

    “Our patients often struggle alone with serious secret and shameful self-doubt, and therapy offers a private space to form a relationship, come to trust someone and be less alone with their pain.” – Eric Plakun, MD, director of admissions and associate medical director

  • Austen Riggs Center

    With hundreds of choices throughout the country, how does one decide which psychiatric facility will work for them? What is it about the Austen Riggs Center that is different from other places?

  • Therapeutic Community Program Manager at the Austen Riggs Center, Cornelia Kalisher, LSW

    The relationship between you and your therapist is important. How do you find a therapist whom you have never met, and be able to feel comfortable sharing some of your deepest, most personal thoughts and feelings with them?  While this might seem like a daunting task, here are some ideas that may help you:

  • Compass

    The New York Times this past Saturday featured an excellent editorial about anxiety disorders in adolescents by Dr. Richard Friedman, a professor of psychiatry at Weil Cornell Medical College.



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