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Finding Meaning in Behavior

The treatment program at Austen Riggs focuses on explaining the underlying problems behind the psychiatric diagnosis.Here is an example of how looking for the meaning behind a symptom like anxiety can allow treatment at Riggs to work when symptom-focused treatments have failed:

Anxiety is part of being human. Sometimes, though, anxiety is incapacitating. Symptoms of anxiety may arise as a signal of some inner conflict that is outside conscious awareness. Anti-anxiety medication often alleviates some of the symptoms of anxiety, but many of those who seek treatment at Riggs continue to have difficulty re-engaging more fully in relationships, work, or play. For these people anxiety is like the “check engine” light on your car’s dashboard. Turning it off may make the light go away, but the underlying problem is not addressed. At Riggs your psychopharmcologist may prescribe medication to reduce anxiety, but the overall treatment program will focus on explaining underlying problems that promote anxiety.

Hear More from Our Clinical Staff

Perspectives on Psychiatric Diagnosis

Austen Riggs Center Associate Medical Director/Director of Biopsychosocial Advocacy Eric Plakun, MD, talks about how Riggs thinks about psychiatric diagnosis. 

What Enables Us to Provide Excellent Clinical Care?

Austen Riggs Center Director of Patient Care Margaret Parish, PhD, highlights some central elements of the excellent clinical care at Riggs. 

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