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Therapeutic Community Program

The Therapeutic Community Program is designed to build a sense of community, enhance your authority, and foster interpersonal learning. Through a system of patient government, patients work with staff to create an engaging community that supports treatment.

Sharing Strengths and Solving Problems Together

In the Therapeutic Community Program (TCP), you can understand more about how other people see you and experiment with new ways of being in relationships by using some of the learning that comes from psychotherapy. There are nearly 50 group meetings held each week, some open to all, some within the different residential programs, and some designed to address specific difficulties. These groups offer many opportunities to deepen your understanding of how different ways of communicating affect the quality of relationships as well as to explore the interpersonal meaning of symptoms. Staff members offer consultation to small groups that focus on interpersonal learning and group dynamics. Other groups support sobriety or teach coping skills.
In one part of the TCP, patients oversee a budget to build community and a sense of belonging by scheduling community events. There are art shows, reading groups, open mic nights, basketball games, outings to local cultural and recreational venues, and many other activities that are planned by patients and staff as part of the TCP. The focus of many of the offerings is negotiated in an ongoing way with the patient community helping to ensure that current needs and interests are met. It is a rare person who cannot find a place where they have something to learn and something to contribute to this community.
Patient Government & Work Program
Two important components of the TCP are patient government and the Work Program.
Patient Government
The system of patient government at Riggs is a vital aspect of the open setting, inviting you to use your strengths and leadership capacities as citizens to help create a community that is supportive of learning, development, enjoyment, and positive engagement. Patient government provides central support for the goal of developing your full voice as an individual and a citizen. As a member of the community, you can learn about making a range of decisions, better understanding and taking responsibility for those decisions, and finding fulfillment through engagement.
Our system of patient self-governance supports your and other patients’ efforts to improve the quality of life in the Riggs community. The structures of patient government allow everyone in the community to participate in creating and enhancing the treatment environment. Elected patient representatives work with staff on a variety of committees that help the community run more smoothly. Patients lead community meetings, address social problems, welcome and orient new community members, and organize recreational activities.
The Work Program
The Austen Riggs Work Program provides an opportunity to apply for and carry out work at the Center in either paid or volunteer positions. It assists you in returning to life in your community in healthy and productive ways by providing this opportunity for growth in collaboration with staff and by enhancing personal competence.
The Work Program recognizes the many benefits of paid and unpaid work roles including:
  • Skill development
  • The experience of making a difference
  • Fulfilling the need to be creative, productive, and competent
  • Building self-esteem and one’s identity
  • Establishing collaborative and productive relationships
  • Receiving recognition and respect
  • Exploring the capacities and abilities of industry and perseverance
Work positions include:
The Work Program Committee, made up of staff and elected patient representatives, oversees the program. The purpose of the committee is to develop jobs for patients at the Center and provide support to the patients and staff who participate in the program. The goal of the Work Program is to offer patients opportunities for “real life” job experiences–from applying for a job, interviewing, and being hired or not, to being paid, being supervised and evaluated, and working in a variety of capacities.

Your Treatment Experience

While your treatment will reflect your own choices, all of our residential treatment programs start with intensive psychotherapy as the core and include a range of complementary elements.

Admission Process

If other treatments haven’t worked, Riggs may be right for you. Unlike some other psychiatric hospitals in Massachusetts or elsewhere, our relational, patient-centered treatment approach addresses underlying issues, not just symptoms.

Learn More About Admission

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