The Riggs Blog

The Riggs Blog is a mix of news about clinical work, research and educational activities from the Austen Riggs Center, as well as a source for information beyond our walls that we find interesting and thought-provoking. Senior clinical experts, researchers, and editors review all clinical content on this blog before it is published.

  • APsaA Logo

    Several Riggs clinical staff members will be participating and presenting at the virtual 2021 National Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) on a variety of topics including technology, identity, and relationships; treatment resistance; medical student education; and more. For additional information about the meeting, please visit: www.apsameeting.org.  

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych

    The Austen Riggs Center is pleased to announce the re-election of Medical Director/CEO Eric Plakun, MD, DLFAPA, FACPsych, to serve his second three-year term as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Area 1 Trustee*. 

  • 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.  

  • Education and training opportunities at the Austen Riggs Center.

    At a certain juncture in their training, some medical students and psychiatric residents confront a profound question: What is the best intervention to treat patients suffering with mental health problems—Is it medication? Is it psychotherapy? Is it both?  

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

    Austen Riggs Center Director of Psychiatric Training David Mintz, MD, receives award for “Recovery from Childhood Psychiatric Treatment” article. 

  • Read all of the latest news from the Austen Riggs Center.

    Read and download the latest issues of the ARC News from this year. If you do not already receive the ARC News and would like to, please fill out our general contact form and let us know.  

  • Read all of the latest news from the Austen Riggs Center.

    Read the fall 2020 issue of the Austen Riggs Center’s newsletter, ARC News, featuring stories on Moral Injury and Blocked Mourning, Measuring Psychological Pain, Improving Mental Health Outcomes in Berkshire County, and A Commitment to Social Work Education.