The Erikson Scholar Program creates and maintains an exchange of ideas between academicians and clinicians to explore interactions between the internal and external worlds. This interdisciplinary program enriches our understanding of each, which often has application to larger societal problems.
Since 1985, our endowed scholar-in-residence program has brought a broad array of more than 50 individuals to the Center to carry out their scholarly research projects in conversation with the clinical staff. Scholars are selected both for the centrality of their theme to the work of the staff and for the potential of that work to enrich and be enriched by interaction with the clinical program.
Academicians, clinicians, and other professionals are invited into the clinical and intellectual life of the Center through participation in seminars, lectures, case discussions, and other learning activities of the Erikson Institute including study groups, seminars, and Interdisciplinary Forums.
Erik Erikson once famously said: “I have nothing to offer except a way of looking at things.” But the serious attention Erikson gave to context turned out to provide an extremely powerful set of lenses for psychodynamic clinical work. One way to describe the mission of the Austen Riggs Center is that it focuses on the treatment and study of the individual in context—not only the context of the patient’s therapeutic relationships, but also the contexts of life cycle, family, community, history, and culture.
Inquiry into the nature of psychosocial experience, the relationship of the individual to culture and history, the role of trauma, the dynamics of identity, and the place of community are broad examples of the areas in which the Erikson Scholar Program honors and extends the legacy of Erikson’s important contribution to the field of psychoanalysis and to the Center during his 10 years on the staff.
In addition to mental health professionals, academicians in the fields of anthropology, genomics, history, law, literary criticism, neuroscience, political science, sociology, and other relevant disciplines in the arts and sciences are encouraged to apply. Generally, scholars are in residence at the Center for a period of 14 weeks. The position includes a stipend, housing (pet and smoke-free), administrative support, and use of the Center’s library.
Scholar Application Process
Scholars and academicians from myriad fields are invited and encouraged to apply to the Erikson Scholar Program.
Apply to Be a Scholar
For a full list of required materials and to begin the process, fill out this form.
Field of Study: Her research largely focuses on the medical humanities and material culture; she is particularly interested in how writing enables agency in narratives of illness, injury, and disability.
Residency: September 2018 - December 2018
Field of Study: During her tenure, she was completing her second book, Philosophical About the Mental Hospital, a cultural and intellectual history of care for the mentally ill in 20th century America, focusing on hospital psychiatry, and uncovering the voices of patients, their family members, psychiatrists, and hospital communities.
Elise Miller, PhD
Residency: January 2018 - April 2018
Field of Study: Her scholarship explores how writers negotiate unconscious conflicts around the anxieties of influence, the shame and silence of racial legacies, competition and survivor guilt, or loss and trauma.
Max Cavitch, PhD
Residency: September 2017 - October 2017
Field of Study: He published a wide variety of articles on early American poetry, print culture, and politics; psychoanalytic criticism and theory; animal studies; and cinema.
Field of Study: She worked for thirty years as a psychoanalyst in public psychiatric hospitals in France, as an external consultant, and is currently in private practice.
Mark Stoholski, PhD
Residency: January 2017 - April 2017
Field of Study: His research addresses the theories of affect and aesthetics associated with the ancient Greek sophists, as well as their various afterlives in modern literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis.
Lisa Barksdale-Shaw, JD, PhD
Residency: September 2016 - December 2016
Field of Study: Barksdale-Shaw's scholarly specialization is in the fields of "early modern English drama and the study of law and literature with interests in material culture, stage properties and performance, evidence and criminology, violence, justice and the history of law."
Nancy McWilliams, PhD, ABPP
Residency: June 2016 - August 2016
Field of Study: A graduate of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, McWilliams is also affiliated with the Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis of New Jersey.
Residency: January 2016 - May 2016
Field of Study: As an Erikson Scholar in 2016, she continued an ongoing investigation of multiple intersections between literary archives and the history and theories of psychoanalysis. Her research helped to shape her next major curatorial project: an exhibition exploring models of creative collaboration—including artistic partnership, the artist-muse relationship, creative competition—in the work of artistic pairs including Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and others (displayed during the winter of 2018 at the Beinecke Library).
Rachael Rosner, PhD
Residency: September 2015 - December 2015
Field of Study: Her general interest is in the history of 20th century American psychotherapy, with a specific focus on the origins of Aaron T. Beck’s Cognitive Therapy.
Stephen N. Xenakis, MD, Brigadier General (Ret), USA
Residency: June 2015 - September 2015
Field of Study: He is the Founder of the Center for Translational Medicine that develops treatments and conducts tests on brain-related conditions affecting soldiers and veterans.
Dale Peterson, PhD
Residency: January 2015 - May 2015
Field of Study: He has written about anthropology, art, computers, literature, psychiatry, and travel, but his primary subject is animals: their lives, meaning, and fate.
Field of Study: She has conducted studies on a range of topics including the psychological development of girls; ego and moral development in both genders; and the ways trauma and its repetition shapes development for girls.
Diane O’Donoghue, PhD
Residency: January 2014 - May 2014
Field of Study: An art historian, she received her PhD from Harvard, where she focused on the visual culture of early China, and then wrote a monograph on the origins of mirrors and the implications of reflection in China’s Bronze Age.
Mark Micale, PhD
Residency: September 2013 - December 2013
Field of Study: He is the author of several books dealing with aspects of the history of psychiatry, especially European psychiatry in the nineteenth century, early psychoanalysis, the history of diagnostics, and the cultural history of psychological medicine.
Field of Study: He is the author of A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Jung, Freud, & Sabrina Spielrein, a historical study of psychoanalysis, made into a movie in 2011. He trained as a clinical psychologist at New York University and worked as a staff psychologist in diverse inpatient and outpatient settings.
Field of Study: She is the author of a book on psychoanalysis, entitled Analyzing Law: Psychoanalysis and Law in the Twenty-First Century (Yale University Press 2017). The book takes a psychoanalytic approach to the study of law's theory, doctrine and adjudication, exploring in detail the laws governing criminal confessions, intimate contracts, violent threats, the therapist-patient relationship, sexual choice, and children's rights.
Yuko Okamoto, PhD
Residency: August 2012 - September 2012
Field of Study: As an Erikson Scholar, she examined the concept of adult generativity, especially as it related to the development and transmission of professional identity.
Ann Murray, PhD
Residency: September 2011 - December 2011
Field of Study: Her courses spanned 19th-21st-century art and included seminars on Vincent van Gogh and contemporary women artists, among other topics. Her project during her tenure was a biography of Ruth Lynda Deyo (1884-1960), a prodigy pianist, composer, visual artist and synesthete whose bouts of depression and mood swings led her to spend the winter of 1912-13 in Stockbridge under the care of Austen Fox Riggs.
Joshua Wolf Shenk
Residency: August 2011
Field of Study: His book, Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness, was named one of the best books of 2005 by The New York Times. His Erikson Scholar project took up the synergy of creative partnerships, the subject of his forthcoming book, The Powers of Two (2014, Eamon Dolan Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
Diptiranjan Pattanaik, PhD
Residency: April 2011 - May 2011
Field of Study: His field is creative writing, children's fiction, and literary criticism. His Erikson Scholar project had to do with what happens to tribal cultures when modernity comes into their experience.
Ann Marie Plane, PhD, PsyD
Residency: September 2010 - December 2010
Field of Study: Her current research focuses on constructions of anger in seventeenth-century New England, including interpersonal and inter-societal violence.
Bernard Reginster, PhD
Residency: February 2010 - May 2010
Field of Study: Professor Reginster's work focuses on issues in ethics, moral psychology, and philosophy of mind in 19th and 20th-century continental philosophy.
Jessica Stern, PhD
Residency: July 2009 - August 2009
Field of Study: She is one of the country's foremost experts on terrorism. She serves on the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. In 2009, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on trauma and violence.
Mark Lipton, PhD
Residency: January 2009 - April 2009
Field of Study: His research and opinions on management and strategy have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Journal of Management Consulting, Optimize, Executive Excellence, and Organization Development Journal, among others. His research at Riggs focused on entrepreneurship and its pathologies.
Field of Study: She received her PhD in philosophy and the social sciences from Columbia and her Master's degree in the teaching of the Fine Arts from Harvard. She has held a number of fellowships, including at the Clark Art Institute, the Rutgers University Center for Children and Childhood Studies, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and the Sigmund Freud Center for Study and Research in Psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Field of Study: His work at Riggs involved adapting research designs for evaluating process and outcome of treatment in a psychodynamically-oriented therapeutic community. He also works with Linda Mayes, Mary Target, and Peter Fonagy at the Yale Child Study Center and the Anna Freud Center in London on integrating psychoanalytic thinking with genetics and family systems into programs of research on preventive intervention.
Shmuel Erlich, PhD, and Mira Erlich-Ginor, MA
Residency: July 2008 - August 2008
Field of Study: They are widely published and very involved with psychoanalytic education internationally. Shmuel was the Sigmund Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and the President of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society.
Arthur Wesley Carr, PhD
Residency: March 2006 - August 2006
Field of Study: He was the retired Dean of Westminster Abbey, an experienced group relations consultant and author, who had written extensively in the areas of pastoral care, the church in society, and the dynamics of groups and organizations.
Field of Study: He is Visiting Professor of Psychiatry and Social Policy, University of Pennsylvania; Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Professor, New York University; President, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence; and author of numerous books and articles on violence.
J. Christopher Perry, MD, MPH
Residency: July 2005 - July 2006
Field of Study: Heis a professor of psychiatry at McGill University; director of psychotherapy research at the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montreal; and a former research affiliate of the Erikson Institute.
Donna Bentolila, PhD
Residency: July 2005 - August 2005
Field of Study: She was a member of the Lacan Clinical Forum. Her work at Riggs involved a clinical study of her treatment of a very disturbed patient. Bentolila passed away in December 2017.
September 2003 | Vamik Volkan, MD: Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Virginia; Training and Supervisory Analyst, Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.
July 2001 | Erlich, H. Shmuel, PhD: Sigmund Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; President of the Israel Psychoanalytic Society.
August 1999 | Daniel Burston, PhD: Associate Professor of Psychology Duquesne University.
May 1999 | Michael Sebek, PhD: President of the Czech Psychoanalytic Society.
November 1999 | Adrienne Harris, PhD: She writes about gender and development, analytic subjectivity, ghosts, and the analysts developing and writing around the period of the First World War.
October 1998 | Francoise Davoine, PhD, and Jean-Max Gaudilliere, PhD: Psychoanalysts in Paris; authors of History Beyond Trauma.
August 1998 | Bernard Beitman, MD: Chairman, Psychiatry & Neurology, University of Missouri-Columbia.
June 1998 | Gerald Mohatt, EdD: Professor of Psychology, University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Mohatt passed away in February 2010.
November 1997 | Margaret Brenman-Gibson, PhD: Member of American Psychoanalytic Association; Davidson Films.
July 1996 | Stephen A. Appelbaum, PhD: Prairie Village, KS; Authored "Evocativeness: Moving, and Persuasive Interventions in Psychotherapy."
September 1994 | E. Virginia Demos, EdD: 1990-1994, Director, Treatment Center, Boston Institute for Psychotherapy.
July 1993 | Morris N. Eagle, PhD: Professor, Department of Applied Psychology, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto; Faculty, New York Postdoctoral Training Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy; and Senior Clinical Associate, Clark Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto. Sigourney Award Winner.
July 1992 | John P. Muller, PhD: 1989-1992, Director of Psychology and Psychotherapy, Four Winds Hospital, Chicago.
July 1991 | Jon K. Meyer, MD: Professor of Psychoanalysis and Professor of Psychiatry, Medical College of Wisconsin; Training and Supervising Analyst, Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis/Wisconsin New Training Facility. View Dr. Meyer's Website.
July 1990 | Charles MT Hanly, PhD: Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto; Training Analyst, Toronto and Canadian Psychoanalytic Institute.
1988-1989 | Rafael Moses, MD: Sigourney Award Winner
July 1987 | Viekko Tahka, MD: Emeritus Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry; Former Head of Psychiatric University Clinic, University of Kuopio, Finland; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Universities of Helsinki and Turku; Training and Supervising Psychoanalyst, Honorary Member and former President, Finnish Psychoanalytical Society; former Vice President, European Psychoanalytic Federation; and Honorary Member, Finnish Psychiatric Association.
July 1985 | Ernst Prelinger, PhD: Former Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, Yale University School of Medicine; Faculty, Western New England Institute of Psychoanalysis. View Obituary.
John P. Muller, PhD
John P. Muller is the former Director of Training and a staff psychologist at the Austen Riggs Center. Before coming to Riggs in 1975 he was Chair of the Department of Human Services, Sinte Gleska College, at the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, consultant for Indian and Migrant Head Start Programs at the Office for Child Development, and member of the Poverty and Minorities Subcommittee of the Membership Committee of the National Association for Retarded Citizens.
Muller is the author of Beyond the Psychoanalytic Dyad: Developmental Semiotics in Freud, Peirce, and Lacan (New York: Routledge, 1996). He coauthored (with W. J. Richardson) Lacan and Language: A Reader’s Guide to Ecrits (New York: International Universities Press, 1982), and (with W. J. Richardson) Ouvrir les Ecrits de Jacques Lacan, a translation of Lacan and Language by P. Julien ( Paris: Eres, 1987). Muller co-edited (with W. J. Richardson) The Purloined Poe: Lacan, Derrida, and Psychoanalytic Reading (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988) and (with J. Brent) Peirce, Semiotics, and Psychoanalysis ( Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000). Muller twice received the Felix and Helena Deutsch Scientific Award from the Boston Psychoanalytic Society. He was the Erikson Scholar at Riggs in 1992-1993.
Muller graduated from the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and received his PhD from Harvard University. He has published over 40 articles and chapters in the field of semiotics and psychoanalysis. He is coordinator of the Lacanian Clinical Forum, and has presented his work nationally and internationally. He is a founding member of the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute.
Vamik D. Volkan, MD (Emeritus)
Vamik D. Volkan, MD, is emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, an emeritus training and supervising analyst at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, and a past president of the International Society for Political Psychology, the Virginia Psychoanalytic Society, the Turkish-American Neuropsychiatric Society, and the American College of Psychoanalysts. He holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from Kuopio University, Finland and from Ankara University, Turkey.
For nearly three decades, Volkan has led interdisciplinary teams to various trouble spots around the world and has brought high-level ‘enemy’ representatives together for years-long unofficial dialogues. His work in the field has resulted in his developing new theories about large-group behavior in times of peace and war. Volkan was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, supported by letters from 27 countries. He has authored or coauthored forty books and has edited or co-edited ten more. His recent projects include clinical teaching on subjects like mourning and technical issues in psychotherapy, books on psychotherapeutic technique and large group identity, an authobiographical account of his international work, and the formation of the International Dialogue Initiative. Volkan began his yearly visits to the Center in 2003.
Vamik’s Room, a film about his life and work, directed by Molly Castelloe, PhD, won the Gradiva Award for Best Film given by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP). It also received the Sidney Halpern Award "for furthering the discipline of psychohistory through the medium of documentary film."
Contact Us for More
If you have questions or would like additional information about the Erikson Scholar Program, please contact the Chair of the Erikson Scholar Search Committee.