The Austen Riggs Center

Barbara Seidl
Season 07
About this non-profit:

In this episode of The Visionaries, we visit The Austen Riggs Center, a small nonprofit psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center in the small town of Stockbridge Massachusetts. Riggs' patients are what other institutions and the managed care companies refer to as "treatment resistant" those who are unable to respond to brief hospital stays and prescription medications meant to cure them. Upon arrival, some patients have been hospitalized up to 100 times before; there therapy has become an exercise in crisis intervention and this is their last chance at combating the extreme emotional difficulties that accompany their illness. By providing long-term care, the Austen Riggs Center is one of the only places in the country that offers their patients both the time and the treatment necessary for them to take hold of their lives again. The Visionaries will learn whether or not this treatment works, how it works, and will examine the safety issues involved for the community of Stockbridge, the staff, and the patients of this psychiatric hospital where there are no locked doors or seclusion rooms. Through the eyes of two former patients, we will have the opportunity to learn first hand how the Center's long standing commitment to recognizing the importance of an individual life succeeds in making a difference in the world.

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