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.

  • The Importance of Health and Wellness, Now More Than Ever - a blog on the Austen Riggs website.

    What can we do when are faced with loss, when we are faced with a world that seems unrecognizable? The pandemic has forced many of us to reckon with difficult feelings and situations, and is having a documented negative impact on the mental health of a growing number of people. In the same breath, some are finding new paths of resilience as well as the time and space to slow down and reconnect with family, friends, and themselves. One powerful tool some are turning to are contemplative practices such as yoga or mindfulness.  

  • As the pandemic wears on and claims more lives, reported mental health issues including suicidal thoughts are continuing to rise. How are COVID-19 and the necessary social isolation measures impacting suicide rates? What are the other individual and societal factors at play and how can we understand and combat them? 

    In an effort to address these and other questions, the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center is pleased to present a VIRTUAL conference for clinicians, scholars, and mental health advocates, Suicide: Culture & Community on Friday evening and Saturday, October 16-17, 2020.  

  • Exploring the Impact of Client Suicides on Clinicians

    “For a limited time, a special collection of articles on treating the suicidal patient is free access for all readers. The collection includes 12 articles from our Law and Psychiatry and Psychotherapy columns concerning Therapeutic Risk Management, Chain Analysis of Suicidal Ideation and Behavior, the Pros and Cons of Introducing a Suicide-Specific Diagnosis, Psychotherapy with the Suicidal Patient, and Balancing Confidentiality and Patient Care.” 

  • “Trust and Consequences” by Hannah Dreier Selected for 2020 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize.

    We were honored to recognize and hear from Washington Post/Pulitzer-Prize-Winning reporter Hannah Dreier during a virtual presentation and Q&A in early August, 2020. She spoke about her piece "Truth and Consequences," a painstakingly researched exploration of how US immigration authorities shattered professional standards of patient confidentiality by compelling mental health workers to turn over notes from their sessions with detained migrants to use against them in court.  

  • Austen Riggs continuing education events are going virtual.

    The Friday Night Guest Lecture Series for 2020-21, presented by the Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center, is moving to a virtual (Zoom) space. While we will miss being able to convene these lectures in person, we are excited to be able to offer them to a broader group of mental health professionals than can easily travel to our campus in Stockbridge.  

  • Video presentations from the Austen Riggs Center's Centennial Conference.

    Late last year, we began a series of video blogs featuring clips from many of the presentations by local, national, and international experts at our Centennial Conference, “The Mental Health Crisis in America: Recognizing Problems, Working Toward Solutions,” which took place at Tanglewood’s Linde Center for Music and Learning on September 21-22, 2019.   

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD, is the Medical Director/CEO of the Austen Riggs Center.

    This submission summarizes the place of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in the US health care system. It addresses trends in the field, tensions between biomedical and biopsychosocial models of mental and substance use disorders, and summarizes top-down legislative and bottom-up judicial actions that impact access to psychosocial treatments for mental and substance use disorders.

  • Measuring Psychological Pain to Improve Clinical Research and Care

    Austen Riggs Center Research Psychologist Katie Lewis, PhD, was the lead author on a paper recently published in the Archives of Suicide Research titled, “Assessment of Psychological Pain in Clinical and Non-Clinical Samples: A Preliminary Investigation Using the Psychic Pain Scale.” This interview with Dr. Lewis that explores some of the paper’s findings.  

  • The Austen Riggs Center is a top psychiatric hospital located in Stockbridge, MA.

    Initiated by the scholarship’s namesake and continued in her honor by the Erikson Institute of the Austen Riggs Center, the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Scholarship is awarded annually (since 2000) to students from Lenox Memorial High School, Monument Mountain High School, and Lee High School who are selected for their record of academic excellence throughout the high school years, stated intention to study social sciences or pre-medical studies in a four-year college program, and demonstrated leadership in community service. 

  • Staff meeting at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA.

    Dr. Hunter-Schaedle has been accepted to present a poster about this topic at the Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIMR) 2020 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, which will take place virtually in December 2020. Her poster is titled: “The View from a Tiny House: Adapting Our Small IRB Operation in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”          



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