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Fellows on the Fellowship

October 5, 2022
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We asked some of our current and a recently graduated Fellows what they had to say about our Adult Psychoanalytic Training Program and Fellowship in Hospital-Based Psychotherapy for post-residency psychiatrists and postdoctoral psychologists. 
Who would you recommend the Fellowship to, and why?
Charles Blomquist, MD: Any psychiatrist that is tired of being confused by the actions of their patients and feels that understanding your patients better makes way for better patient care.
Sarah Hamilton, PhD: Anyone interested in strengthening their capacities as a clinician, particularly in areas that can be challenging in clinical work.
madeline river, PsyD: Those who are interested in and are up for learning something experientially and intimately about the raw edge of human experience, both in themselves and in their patients. Working at Riggs demands something of your whole person in a way not many other places do, which is a tall order, a daunting task, and (in my opinion) an incredibly valuable offer.
What has surprised you most about your Fellowship experience?
Blomquist: I have been surprised by the level of support I have received from those around me and how much I learn every day. I find that my thinking is constantly evolving as I add to the understanding of myself and my patients daily.
Hamilton: While I anticipated growing and developing strengths as a clinician through the Fellowship experience, I was surprised by the degree to which I was able to develop a level of comfort in working with patients who are in incredibly difficult circumstances or struggling with particularly difficult internal issues.
river: I have been surprised by the incredible amount of camaraderie I’ve felt with the other Fellows, despite us having vastly different training backgrounds. I have also been surprised by how much the Fellows play a vital role in the functioning of the institution. 
What are some of the most important things you have learned during your Fellowship?
Blomquist: I have started to understand my patients’ actions, thoughts, and ideas more than I ever thought possible, and I recognize that I still have so much further to go, which I find both frustrating but much more exciting.
Hamilton: The Fellowship allowed (and required) me to significantly increase my capacity to think about the patient as a whole and formulate an understanding of their dilemmas and experience in the world. I am now much more able to conceptualize and understand the experience and difficulties of my patients.
river: I am continuing to learn and re-learn lessons about how to navigate issues of autonomy and interdependence, when to act with authority and when to lean on colleagues. I also continue to learn about how larger systemic forces can shape the lives of patients and staff in complex ways that enter into the work, whether we like it or not. Training at Riggs has helped me to keep that complexity in mind in my clinical work.
To learn more about the Fellowship or to apply, visit www.austenriggs.org/Fellowship