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Erikson Institute

The Erikson Institute for Education, Research, and Advocacy of the Austen Riggs Center offers psychoanalytic education, supports and conducts research, and undertakes community engagement. The Institute helps clinicians, educators, researchers, and scholars understand and respond to problems individuals, groups, and society face.

The Erikson Institute for Education, Research, and Advocacy of the Austen Riggs Center.

Education, Research, and Advocacy

The Erikson Institute, also known as the EI, is embedded in the rich tradition of the Austen Riggs Center and the psychoanalytic hospital treatment of adult patients. Under the direction of Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP, the Institute is a leading national and international provider of psychoanalytic education and clinical training as well as psychoanalytic research and supports advocacy for critical issues related to psychiatric care.
Established in 1994 and named for renowned psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson, who was on the Riggs staff for ten years, EI offerings represent a broad spectrum that includes:

Education & Training

Professionals interested in psychoanalytic theory and practice can find learning opportunities through Erikson Institute-sponsored CE/CME events. We train postdoctoral psychiatrists and psychologists in our ACPEinc-accredited Fellowship and psychiatrists in training in our Elective in Psychodynamic Psychiatry. Erikson Scholars-in-Residence visit to pursue a project in their area of specialization.

Riggs staff conduct numerous mental health research studies. Specializations include suicide prevention, psychiatric testing, and PTSD, among others.
View All Research
Institutional Collaborations
Through the Erikson Institute, the Austen Riggs Center maintains important relationships with academic institutions, teaching hospitals, and other psychoanalytically-oriented groups and institutions. These partnerships foster mutual learning, collaborations of various kinds, and new research endeavors. Current collaborations include:
Cambridge Health Alliance
In the fall of 2007, the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) Psychology Department and the Erikson Institute formed an affiliation for the purpose of increasing training opportunities for CHA Pre-Doctoral Psychology Interns. The aim of the program is to augment the Interns’ learning in a number of areas, including complex severe psychopathology; integrated, comprehensive, dynamic treatment; psychodynamic psychotherapy; and attention to context and systemic issues. These objectives are accomplished through twice-yearly two-day visits of the Interns to Riggs and weekly psychotherapy supervision with a senior Riggs therapist.
International Dialogue Initiative
A project initiated by Senior Erikson Scholar Vamik Volkan based on his decades of international work, the International Dialogue Initiative examines large group differences - and the emotionally charged perception of those differences - in an attempt to understand the effect of past trauma on present concerns and the contribution of large group identity anxieties to divisiveness and conflict.  The Initiative is aimed at facilitating a process of deepening discussion between representatives from various nations and cultures for the purpose of learning together about these differences in perspective.
Riggs staff members affiliated with the International Dialogue Initiative include Donna Elmendorf, PhD and Distinguished Faculty members Edward Shapiro, MD, and Gerard Fromm, PhD who is the current president of the IDI.
Lacanian Clinical Forum
Chaired by founding member John Muller, PhD, the Lacanian Clinical Forum meets twice yearly. The Erikson Institute hosts this meeting in the fall at Riggs; in the spring, the meeting is held in the Montreal area. The group’s task is to understand the clinical and theoretical ideas of Lacan through in-depth case discussion and interdisciplinary scholarship.
The New School
The Erikson Institute, The Ferenczi Center of the New School in New York, and the Conference on the Other sponsored by Boston College in Boston, have partnered to form a study group in which members from each institution gather three times a year to intensively examine a paper or topic chosen in advance.
Rapaport-Klein Study Group
The Rapaport-Klein Study Group is a gathering of the students of David Rapaport, director of research at Riggs in its early history, and George Klein, psychoanalytic theoretician, researcher, and incoming research director at Riggs before his untimely death. The group meets annually at the Center to present psychoanalytically oriented research in progress. Given that this group is comprised of accomplished analyst-researchers, the projects presented represent the leading edge of psychodynamic research.
Yale Child Study Center/Yale University School of Medicine
The Riggs-Yale partnership has a long and rich history that began under the leadership of former Austen Riggs Medical Director Dr. Robert Knight. The Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute was first launched with classes in New Haven and Stockbridge and with faculty including Erik Erikson and other Riggs staff members holding Yale appointments. Linda C. Mayes, MD, director of the Yale Child Study Center, is a member of the Distinguished Faculty in the Erikson Institute. Riggs staff also give an annual Erikson Lecture in the Child Study Center’s Grand Rounds program. Beginning in the summer of 2012, the Yale Child Study Center, the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, and the Erikson Institute have joined together to host an annual conference bringing the two institutions into conversation around shared clinical and research interests.

CE/CME Courses

The Erikson Institute offers diverse continuing education courses to enhance your professional development. We are accredited by several entities and credit may be available for physicians, psychologists, social workers, and nurses. (Consult each course listing for specific guild approvals.)

CE/CME Courses

Check out the full listing of upcoming live and past recorded CE/CME courses.

Council of Scholars
The Council of Scholars consists of scholars with established reputations in their fields and a focused interest or expertise in psychoanalysis. Its membership represents an ideal of the Erikson Institute: the integration of psychoanalytic thinking with other disciplines. The Council’s task is consulting to the director of the Erikson Institute or the medical director/CEO with specific projects.
Anne Dailey, JD
Evangeline Starr Professor of Law, University of Connecticut School of Law.
David Edwards, PhD
James N. Lambert ’39 Professor of Anthropology, Williams College
Kai Erikson, PhD
William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Sociology and American Studies, Yale University; Past President of the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the Eastern Sociological Society
Carol Gilligan, PhD
University Professor at New York University, author of In a Different Voice, and most recently, Why Does Patriarchy Persist? (with Naomi Snider).
James Gilligan, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University, prior to which he spent 35 years on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, where he headed the Institute of Law and Psychiatry and directed mental health services for the Massachusetts prison system.
Michael Ann Holly, PhD
Starr Director Emeritus of the Research and Academic Program at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
Thomas A. Kohut, PhD
Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is also the president of the Freud Foundation, US.
Kimberlyn Leary, PhD, ABPP
Chair; Senior Vice President at Urban Institute; Senior Equity Fellow at OMB; Associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School; Lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School
Linda Mayes, MD
Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology; Chair, Yale Child Study Center; Distinguished Visiting Professor of Psychology, Sewanee: The University of the South.
Robert A. Paul, PhD
Charles Howard Candler Professor of Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies. Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory, Training/Supervising Analyst in the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute.
Bernard Reginster, PhD
Professor and Chair of Philosophy Department, Brown University
Ellen Handler Spitz, PhD
Senior Lecturer in Humanities, Yale University, Professor Emerita in Humanities, University of Maryland (UMBC).

Contact Us for More

For more information about the Erikson Institute, please feel free to get in touch.