Austen Riggs Center

For Professionals

Profile for Professionals

Many clinicians, patients and their families struggle with the reality that medications, short-term psychotherapeutic and/or inpatient treatments have not been enough to return a patient to full functioning even with so many advances in psychiatric treatments. A national referral center, Austen Riggs is a small, not-for-profit, open psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center that is known for its respectful work with treatment resistant or treatment refractory patients.

About 80% of Riggs patients are diagnosed with treatment refractory mood disorders; 40% have had six or more self-destructive episodes; about half made at least one serious suicide attempt, and 60% have had three or more hospitalizations prior to admission. Sixty percent have also experienced early neglect; trauma or abuse and about 35% meet criteria for PTSD. Results from a 15-year longitudinal study indicate that a stay at Riggs often reverses the downward trajectory of serious mental illness, providing individuals with the tools they need to help them better manage their lives.

Patients not helped in other settings can often benefit from deeper, more thorough psychodynamic evaluation and intensive treatment with either a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist who has specialized training in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Riggs offers a continuum of inpatient and residential programs and services within a core treatment framework that remains consistent throughout the individual’s stay.

With the freedom of Riggs’ open setting are responsibility and an expectation that patients will take authority for their treatment. Individuals have the best chance of success when they are invited to share their strengths with each other and the staff in a serious partnership of mutual problem solving and social learning. The therapeutic community at Riggs is a series of patient and staff groups and programs, ranging from community meetings, social support groups and symptom-focused groups to patient-government structures, community activities and a work program. It is supported by interpersonally focused nursing and an innovative fine arts program.

Austen Riggs also offers a post-doctoral fellowship program for psychologists and psychiatrists in psychodynamic psychotherapy, as well as many continuing education programs.

More Information

Referring a Patient

Our Admissions coordinators and clinicians can help you to determine if your patient is a good fit for Austen Riggs. Contact us M-F, 8:30am — 5:00pm, Eastern Time by calling 1-800-51-RIGGS (74447). For information on the admissions process, click here.

Fellowship Training

Austen Riggs is committed to the education of future generations of psychiatrists and psychologists in the skills and values of psychodynamic psychotherapy. For more information on two- and four-year fellowship positions, click here.

Support and Therapy Groups

For a current listing of programs, click here.


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