• Help Your Patients with Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Treatment

    Austen Riggs Center’s Dr. Eric M. Plakun collaborates with Kennedy Forum Illinois and other experts to provide template to help patients with insurance coverage. 

  • On February 28, 2019, Judge Joseph Spero of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued the findings of fact and conclusions of law in Wit v United Behavioral Health (UBH), a class action brought against the country’s largest behavioral health insurer. On November 3, 2020, Judge Spero issue a ruling related to the remedy phase of this case. Based on his knowledge and experience, Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, served as plaintiffs’ expert on adult mental disorders for this case. Dr. Plakun is an authority on access to care, implementation of mental health parity, and other advocacy issues.  

  • At the core of each patient’s work at Riggs is intensive psychotherapy.

    Far too many of us do not have access to the mental health care we need, even if we have health insurance, and especially if we are members of a minority group. Efforts to achieve true mental health parity through legislation and litigation, as well as individual and organizational advocacy, are central to addressing these health disparities and increasing access. 

  • 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.  

  • In November 2020, a federal magistrate issued a stinging rebuke to the United Behavioral Health division of UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest behavioral health insurer, saying it could no longer use its overly restrictive guidelines to deny mental health and substance use treatment and compelled them to reprocess over 50,000 claims. 

    In this video, Austen Riggs Medical Director and CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, who served as plaintiffs’ expert in Wit v. United Behavioral Health, details how the order hands clinicians and professional groups a powerful tool to reclaim their role in determining access to care for patients.   

  • Nina Gutin, PhD, writes about the importance of speaking up about suicide and me

    Austen Riggs Center former patient Nina Gutin, PhD, writes about the importance of speaking up about suicide and mental health struggles. 

  • 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.  

  • Read the spring 2020 issue of the Austen Riggs Center’s newsletter, ARC News, featuring stories on Riggs treatment, planned giving, and the Health and Wellness Program.

    Read the spring 2020 issue of the Austen Riggs Center’s newsletter, ARC News, featuring stories on Riggs treatment, planned giving, and the Health and Wellness Program. 

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD, is the Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center.

    This submission summarizes the place of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in the US health care system. It addresses trends in the field, tensions between biomedical and biopsychosocial models of mental and substance use disorders, and summarizes top-down legislative and bottom-up judicial actions that impact access to psychosocial treatments for mental and substance use disorders.

  • Measuring Psychological Pain to Improve Clinical Research and Care

    Austen Riggs Center Research Psychologist Katie Lewis, PhD, was the lead author on a paper recently published in the Archives of Suicide Research titled, “Assessment of Psychological Pain in Clinical and Non-Clinical Samples: A Preliminary Investigation Using the Psychic Pain Scale.” This interview with Dr. Lewis that explores some of the paper’s findings.  



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