Programs and Services
All patients have intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy four times a week with a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. The goal is to help the person expand their capacity for work, play, and love by fostering improved self-esteem and resilience and by helping them acknowledge and come to terms with whatever has previously blocked their development.
Recognizing the importance of the social context, we offer in-depth family evaluation, support for family members, and family therapy, as well as a robust Therapeutic Community Program in which patients can develop supportive peer relationships and learn about themselves with others. Community members work at practicing “examined living,” in which patients and staff discuss the meanings of behaviors, choices, and interactions with one another in open, collaborative ways. We offer opportunities for participation in patient government, in social and recreational activities, in reflective process groups, and in health and wellness activities such as meditation and yoga.
All patients complete a series of cognitive and personality tests during the six-week Initial Evaluation and Treatment phase. The same interdisciplinary treatment team works with a patient even if he or she steps down to a lower level of care, and includes nursing care, clinical social work, psychopharmacology, a substance use counselor, and therapeutic community staff. We have a consultant in internal medicine, a nutritionist, and a physical trainer, and can offer referrals for specialized medical assessment when needed.
Balancing the clinical work is a novel Activities Program in which working artists provide instruction in visual arts, fiber arts, ceramics, woodworking, theatre, and other artistic forms. Patients can also work in the Nursery School, the greenhouse, or in various jobs in the work program. Each person works with staff to find the combination of services and activities suited to them. No two treatments are exactly alike.
Hear our Clinicians Talk About the Programs and Services at Austen Riggs
Jane Tillman, PhD, ABPP, Director of the Erikson Institute and Staff Psychologist talks about treatment teams at the Austen Riggs Center. At the time of admission each patient is assigned to a multi-disciplinary treatment team.