What Leaders in the Field Say about the Riggs Fellowship

Dr. Steve Sharfstein comments on the value of the Austen Riggs Fellowship Program."The Riggs Fellowship is unique among training programs and stands for a biopsychosocial approach that is increasingly relevant and necessary for the next generation of psychiatrists and psychologists.”

Dr. Steven Sharfstein, former president of the American Psychiatric Association, former president and chief executive officer of Sheppard Pratt Health System, and member of the Board of Directors of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development


Dr. Aaron Beck comments on the value of the Austen Riggs Fellowship Program.“My experience at the Austen Riggs Center and the Pittsfield Clinic represented the best training I have ever received in psychotherapy. I received superb supervision from Joe Chassell and Margaret Brenman-Gibson, which was collaborative, flexible, practical, and sensible. Also, under the supervision of Bob Knight, I wrote a paper, which was the first in the field, entitled ‘Successful Psychotherapy of a Patient with Chronic Schizophrenia,’ which guided my more recent work in this area. Finally, the broad and open approach of the staff at Riggs laid the groundwork for my later research of the cognitive approach to the psychological disorders.”

— Dr. Aaron T. Beck, father of cognitive therapy and emeritus professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Nancy McWilliams is a former Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center.“During my time as an Erikson Scholar at the Austen Riggs Center, I was continually impressed by the quality of treatment, the sophistication of the staff, and the depth and breadth of the training offered. Riggs represents a way of thinking about and treating patients that we very much need in today’s world.”

Dr. Nancy McWilliams, internationally recognized and award-winning author, psychoanalyst, and visiting professor at Rutgers University


Dr. John Santopietro comments on the value of the Austen Riggs Fellowship Program.“The Riggs Fellowship has been critical to the work that I do every day - trying to transform systems of care for patients and their families. In a healthcare market that could drift (if unchecked) toward commoditization and depersonalization, Riggs, with an effect disproportionate to its size, stands for something important. Something of immense value, in fact. They stand for the uniqueness of each and every individual who comes to us asking for help. They are able to slow things down in such a way that protects the space in between stimulus and response, as the Frankel quote goes, wherein lies our capacity to grow and to be free.”

Dr. John Santopietro, physician-in-chief, Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, senior vice president, Hartford HealthCare, former president and medical director of Silver Hill Hospital, former chief clinical officer of behavioral health and chair of psychiatry for Carolinas HealthCare System


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