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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.

  • Marina Bayeva, MD, PhD, is a Fellow at Austen Riggs.

    Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Eric Plakun, MD, and Fellow in Psychiatry Marina Bayeva, MD, PhD, will present vital perspectives on the future of psychotherapy in psychiatry during virtual and on demand 2021 APA Annual Meeting sessions from May 1-3. 

  • Austen Riggs provides intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy in a open community.

    The Austen Riggs Center announces a call for entries for its 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media. 

  • 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?  

  • 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.  

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