9780393706611 198

Treatment Resistance and Patient Authority

The Austen Riggs Reader


Eric M. Plakun (Editor)

With a Foreword by Otto F. Kernberg

Our Retail Price:£25.00

Add to Basket


Therapeutic hope for “treatment resistant” patients.

The Austen Riggs Center is nationally recognized as the leading psychiatric hospital for treatment-resistant patients, who willingly seek help but just cannot respond to treatment. Here, leaders in treating such challenging patients offer a comprehensive psychodynamic approach for treatment and offer hope for recovery.

In this book, readers are given an in-depth view into the psychodynamics systems perspective of treatment resistant disorders, with illustrations of the value of including family therapy, and developing and using a psychodynamic treatment team. Also offered is the first description published in book form of the newly-defined area of psychodynamic psychopharmacology—an approach to the use of medications that attends to the meaning of medications to the patient and clinician, as well as to their pharmacologic effects.

Important clinical problems such as trauma, psychosis, suicide, family resistant, integrated treatment, and psychopharmacologic failures are covered in detail. Throughout, practical principles are reported in text boxes to help the reader apply learning from Riggs to other outpatient, residential, day treatment, and inpatient settings.

The Austen Riggs Center is on the forefront of dealing with difficult-to-treat patients, and this book provides an invaluable resource for both understanding treatment resistance and implementing effective techniques to treat it in clinical practice.


“[W]onderful . . . well written . . . comprehensive and engaging . . . . Special kudos to Eric Plakun for the superb job of editing this invaluable volume – a must-read for all clinicians treating a growing population of patients who find themselves drifting from one treatment to another and slowly spiraling down into personal and professional chaos.” — Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

“[A]n excellent hands-on guide to working with difficult-to-treat patients.” — New England Psychologist

“This is a wonderful book about the healing benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy…. [A]n invaluable book for academic, public sector, hospital-based, and private practice psychiatrists. By emphasizing the importance of a psychodynamic approach, this book may even nudge the field of psychiatry toward an acceptance of the efficacy of an intensive dynamic psychotherapy, in conjunction with the psychodynamically informed use of medications, and help improve the general state of in- and out-patient psychiatric practice for patients with severe mental illness.” — The American Journal of Psychiatry

“The book is worth reading by all mental health professionals. . . . The text is well organized with take-home messages set apart in boxes. . . . A variety of issues are addressed . . . .” — Psychiatric Times

“In an era when extended hospital treatment is diminishing rapidly in the face of an increasing cohort of difficult-to-treat patients who often have treatment-resistant illness, this is an excellent and important contribution to the literature…. [W]ell written and seamlessly edited…. [A]n important resource of its own in this very challenging work.” — Journal of Psychiatric Practice

“[S]uperb volume . . . .[P]sychoanalytically informed approach at Riggs aims to restore the patient’s sense of agency…Each author impressively and persuasively demonstrates how difficult, how emotionally and intellectually demanding a process this is, and how effectively Riggs is able to do it…enormously gifted group of like-minded staff members who have worked together for a long time and have painstakingly hammered out a coherent view of the treatment process through painful trial and error. . . .[A] veritable tour de force, a brilliant exposition of the concept and a persuasive demonstration of its need for wider applicability in a hospital setting. . . . [O]ught to be required reading for all psychiatrists and insurance carriers. It is one of the most thoughtful treatments of the psychological complexities of psychopharmacoloy I have ever read, at once both exhaustive and concise. . . . [S]ufficient variability in the authors’ vantage points that the book never becomes tiresome. . . each chapter abounds with rich, insightful clinical cases. . . . [O]ffers clinical writing at its best; psychoanalysts who aspire to write clinically should study these cases and learn from their simple, vivid, and jargon-free language.” — Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association

“[A]n amazing book, a light of hope in the present depressive, unproductive climate of psychiatric education and treatment . . . . [A]bout more than treatment-resistant patients. It is about the dignity of man. . . .The various well coordinated chapters of the book focus on different aspects of this complex therapeutic culture. . . .Detailed clinical vignettes help the reader appreciate the dramatic impact of different therapeutic encounters. . . .This book is a treasure trove, to be recommended to all psychotherapists and certainly to all therapists working in a institution, clinic, outpatient or group setting.” — Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

“In this managed care era of psychiatric treatment driven by economics, Austen Riggs stands alone in its individualized, psychodynamically-informed but multimodal approach to hospital care for treatment of individuals who have failed multiple efforts. Treatment Resistance and Patient Authority is an outstanding contribution and a must-read for all of us, regardless of the treatment setting, engaged in trying to understand and care for these severely ill individuals.” — Steven S. Sharfstein, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sheppard Pratt, Past President, American Psychiatric Association, Clinical Professor and Vice Chair, Dept. of Psychiatry, U Maryland