• The Austen Riggs Center is focusing some of our research efforts on the issue of suicide.

    This past April, in my blog post entitled “Understanding Self-Destructive Impulses in Daily Life,” I discussed the important impact that daily experiences–in particular, daily interpersonal experiences–can have on self-destructive impulses. For individuals who are contending with chronic mental health concerns and suicidal ideation, feeling at odds with friends and loved ones can increase stress and hopelessness, and prevent relationships with others from serving a protective role during times of crisis.

  • 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.

  • The Austen Riggs Center is an open psychiatric treatment setting located in Stockbridge, MA.

    As we approach the end of 2017, we thought we’d look back over some of our more popular blogs and blog series from this year.

  • Something for the Pain

    Suicide and opioid use/addiction have something in common: they are attempts to solve the problem of pain, both physical pain and psychological pain (also known as “psychache”) (Shneidman 1998). Last summer the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report indicating that death by suicide in the US increased by 24% between 1999 and 2014, translating to 44,193 lives lost each year to suicide–a rate of 13.26 per 100,000 individuals. And this year, in 2017, we have learned that deaths from drug overdoses have increased 2.5 times the rate in 1999, to a rate of 16.3 per 100,000 individuals (Hedegaard, Warner, and Miniño 2017). 

  • Austen Riggs Center clinicians Drs. Eric Plakun and Jane G. Tillman speak about the impact of suicide on clinicians. 

  • Jane Tillman, PhD, ABPP

    The States of Mind (SOM) study involves 131 participants drawn from the patient population of the Austen Riggs Center. Data were collected between 2009-2012. Within this sample we conducted a detailed psychodynamic interview with a subset of 11 patients who had made a medically serious suicide attempt within the two years prior to admission.

  • Read the Austen Riggs Center newsletter, ARC News, Summer 2017 issue.

    Highlights from this issue include overviews of three of our six Strategic Initiatives:

    Biopsychosocial Advocacy
    Psychodynamic Psychopharmacology
    Suicide Research and Education

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

    The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis has announced that Austen Riggs Center Research Psychologist Katie Lewis, PhD, has been named the next Robert S. Wallerstein Fellow in Psychoanalytic Research. This prestigious Fellowship, which includes a minimum of five years of grant funding, will support Dr. Lewis’ research study, “Impact of Interpersonal Experiences on Maladaptive Thoughts and Behaviors: An Object Relations EMA Study.” Jane Tillman, PhD, ABPP, Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at Austen Riggs, is co-investigator on the study and will serve as Dr. Lewis’ sponsor.

  • Commentary on Michelle Carter texting and suicide case by Austen Riggs Center’s Dr. Jane G. Tillman, director of Erikson Institute for Education and Research.

    The surprise verdict of guilty in the Michelle Carter texting and suicide case in a Massachusetts courtroom has far-reaching implications for how we think about suicide, personal responsibility and culpability, free speech, and our duty as citizens to one another, particularly those on the brink of suicide. As a psychologist and psychoanalyst who works with suicidal patients, and a researcher who studies suicide, the verdict leaves me deeply ambivalent. Words are the tools of my trade, and according to Judge Moniz, the wrong words, to the wrong person, at the wrong time can be equated with involuntary manslaughter.

  • Lee Watroba and Bertha Connelley are leading efforts to engage Riggs staff with suicide prevention and advocacy on the local and regional levels.

    Whether working locally with suicide prevention organizations, presenting at conferences, or contributing to the larger field of suicidology through research and scholarship, the Austen Riggs Center and its staff are committed to better understanding and preventing suicide.



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