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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.

  • Austen Riggs Center Greenhouse Instructor Sandy Dawson talks about the role of gardening and the greenhouse as part of the Activities Program at Riggs.

    Those beautiful flowers on the tables, the well-tended plants in the Inn, the delicious vegetables prepared in the kitchen—Austen Riggs has its own “garden-to-table” initiative, courtesy of patients who tend plants in our greenhouse and garden as students of Greenhouse Instructor Sandy Dawson.

  • Edward R. Shapiro, MD, Distinguished Faculty in the Austen Riggs Center’s Erikson Institute, explores Wesley Carr and an institution’s primary task.

    Edward R. Shapiro, MD, Distinguished Faculty in the Erikson Institute for Education and Research, continues an exploration of Wesley Carr and the integrity of religious institutions. 

  • Austen Riggs Center Spring 2019 newsletter, celebrating 100 years, exploring the four freedoms of mental health, and a call for Media Prize entries.

    Austen Riggs Center Spring 2019 newsletter, celebrating 100 years, exploring the four freedoms of mental health, and a call for Media Prize entries. 

  • Edward R. Shapiro, MD, Distinguished Faculty in the Austen Riggs Center’s Erikson Institute, explores Wesley Carr and an institution’s primary task.

    Edward R. Shapiro, MD, Distinguished Faculty in the Austen Riggs Center’s Erikson Institute, explores Wesley Carr and an institution’s primary task. 

  • The Austen Riggs Center has a therapeutic community in an open treatment setting.

    Entering the open setting here at Riggs produces a kind of culture shock—this holds for patients, for their families, and for new staff. As a psychiatric hospital, Riggs is unique, and it is the open setting that makes it unique: no locked wards, no security guards, no pass system. Patients have cars, hold jobs, come and go to college, sit (or work) in the coffee shop down the street.

  • Tracy Prout presented a Grand Rounds at the Austen Riggs Center.

    During a visit to the Austen Riggs Center earlier this year, Tracy Prout, PhD, spoke with us about a number of topics including her interest in psychodynamic psychotherapy, working with children, and what led her to teaching and research. 

  • Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, comments on a recent verdict with implications for mental health parity.

  • Celebrating 100 years of lives reclaimed at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.

    The Austen Riggs Center (Riggs) celebrates its one hundredth anniversary in 2019, and will mark the milestone of its founding with a series of engaging events, curated exhibitions, and a centennial conference, each honoring the institution’s historic legacy at the forefront of mental health treatment, patient care, and research, it was announced today by Eric M. Plakun, MD, Medical Director and CEO of the Austen Riggs Center. 

  • Recreational marijuana is now sold legally in Massachusetts. What does that mean for Austen Riggs?

    Recreational marijuana is now sold legally in Massachusetts. What does that mean for Austen Riggs?

    Massachusetts voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2012 and approved the sale of cannabis for recreational use in 2016. This has led to the recent opening of the state’s first dispensaries—one of them less than 10 miles from Stockbridge and at least two others in Berkshire County with still more planned. Given that half of the patients who come to Riggs for treatment have a diagnosed substance use disorder, the relatively easy access to legal cannabis could add to the challenges they face. 

  • The Austen Riggs Center provides intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy in a voluntary, open, and non-coercive community.

    The Austen Riggs Center announces a call for entries for its centennial year 2019 Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media. 

    The Austen Riggs Center Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media recognizes a select group of professional journalists, writers, and media professionals who create exemplary work that contributes to the public’s understanding of mental health issues. 

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