Jonathan Olds

Doctor Jonny

Jonathan Olds

I'm a newly qualified doctor (I'm the one on the right of the profile pic!), travelling to Massachusetts, USA (just learned how to spell Massachusetts - all by myself!) for a month; for an elective placement at the Austen Riggs Institute - a psychodynamic psychiatric hospital. This is my first ever blog - so I can have a record of this amazing trip; as well as keeping my loved-ones up to date with what's happening (daily) and share lots of pics!

Hello! So, it's been a good week at Riggs - very interesting and feel a lot more resilient now (thanks to the help of Riggs!) On Thursday (donut day :) ), I had my last supervision session with Dr David Mintz - he's away at a national conference this week, so we had our final meeting on Thursday evening, after work. We decided to go for a hike (yes, a hike!) up Monument Mountain - a trail that has amazing views at the top (pics included). It was a great supervision and got loads out of it! Barbara and Steve are away this weekend, so I have the place to myself. The weather this weekend has been fantastic! Yesterday (Saturday), I decided to explore Stockbridge. Spent lots of time looking in the quaint local shops, and ... read more

North America » United States » Massachusetts » Boston May 12th 2013

Hi all! So, I woke up in a very bad mood on Saturday morning - not helped by the fact it was grey and raining! I was cheered up, however, when Barbara and Steve offered me a bagel - it was a chocolate marble one from a local bagel store, and it was totally amazing. My faith was restored and I set off for the long drive to Boston. I got to Alewife subway station, and parked up and took the train to Park St., Boston. There, it was raining too, but undeterred, I started to walk the Freedom Trail. There's an app for the iPhone for it. Basically, it's this red line on the pavements that you follow and it takes you around all the historic sites in Boston - the app tells you more ... read more

Hey Guys! So, this week's been going steadily, and have therefore not had much to blog about, but thought I'd keep you all in the loop! Being here at Riggs has started to affect my own psychology - a lot! I've started to notice that the nature of my experience here has been unsettling and I have felt quite destabilised and have started to have weird dreams. This, of course, was going to be inevitable (unless I adopted an army of defense mechanisms - in which case, my experience here would be wasted!) My unconscious has been provoked and awakened and whilst disturbing, it provides a fascinating learning resource. My boundaries remain in place, so it's well-contained and feels very safe, and furthermore, I get an insight into the complexity of where my psyche ends, and ... read more

Hi All, So I thought I'd share with you a couple of bits of information that has really struck me... Firstly, how costly it is for patients to be here. This is a quote from the website: "Austen Riggs offers a range of programs, from the initial six-week intensive evaluation and treatment phase to other residential day treatment and aftercare programs. Fees range from $1,190/day at the highest level of evaluation and treatment to $220/day for aftercare. While the total length of stay can vary, individuals are strongly encouraged to stay for the minimum period of six-weeks of intensive evaluation and treatment, and a pre-payment of $47,000 is required on the day of admission. This pre-payment covers most of the cost of the evaluation and treatment phase, depending on program admitted to. There is also an ... read more

North America » United States » New York » New York » Manhattan May 5th 2013

Hey! So, Sunday, I got up at 0630, in order to leave at 0730 for the train station at Wassaic, New York State. I drove there - didn't realise how close we are to the New York State border, and when I got to the station, I learnt very quickly that it's not just us in the UK who are victim to the 'Sunday rail-replacement bus service due to engineering works'. The bus wasn't due for ages, so I decided 'to hell with it - I'll be brave and DRIVE to NYC!'. Having programmed a random address in Brooklyn (something like 16 5th Avenue!) into the SatNav, I set off. Stopped at a gas station to fill up with petrol and coffee and then drove the two and a bit hours on the interstate - quite ... read more

Hey! So, this morning, after breakfast, I had a yoga class - don't let anyone tell you it's easy!! After the class, I went on a walk around a trail called 'Simon's rock' - pics attached! Thought I may see a bear, but it wasn't to be today! Did some reading in the sunshine back at my place, before driving to Pittsfield for a BBQ with friends of Julia - Joe and Nancy. The steaks were to die for! Their house is next to a lake, and we spent the evening by the lake, drinking beer and toasting marshmallows! - Thanks to them for their hospitality! Seems Massachusetts has some weird State driving regulation - you can ignore a red traffic light if turning right, and they seem VERY liberal with respect to drink-driving! Just saying! ... read more

So this morning, I arrived at work at just before 0830, and I was greeted not only by the usual array of coffee, but by a tray of donuts - Pic attached! What is there not to love about this place???? Spent the morning in a psychological testing seminar - 5 doctors analysing the commonly known 'ink-blot' tests (yes, they are used in practice!), and the picture-narratives. It gives amazing insight into someone's unconscious thought processes and associations! After work, I had dinner at the Inn, and then joined up for a 14-day free trial membership at my local gym - thinking of going to a yoga class, as well as a cardio. session (in addition to the usual weights etc.) Been thinking about this weekend... Boston, New York City, or stay local and explore??? Will ... read more

Hi all! So, this is going to be mainly photos. The weather was amazing today - spent the morning walking with my supervisor, considering boundaries in psychodynamic practice, and then I grabbed coffee (see pic of the choices we have!) and sat outside in the grounds of Riggs, reading notes on schizoid personality. Had more patient contact time today and also found my local gym - getting orientation there tomorrow. Anyhow, check out the photos and I hope all's well back home. xxx... read more

Hello! So, day 2 at Riggs was very interesting indeed! Honestly, I've never known such a place existed anymore! Surrounded by eminent and frankly famous PhD and MD Psychoanalysts, often during case conferences, in a large room, discussing a patient, who is then brought in for an interview, in front of us all, invited to leave and then discussed at length! It seems very old-fashioned, but this centre in many ways succeeds on that! I had a meeting with my Preceptor - Dr Mark (something), which consisted of another walk and a philosophical analytical discussion. This time, we walked up a hill and the views were amazing! Picture attached! I'm loving it here - Barbara and Steve brought me a bagel this morning, with fresh coffee and cream cheese; and I had lunch at the Inn ... read more

Barbara bought me two scones - she didn't want me to go into withdrawl! (Do Americans think we consume scones everyday???), so I had one for breakfast and Steve made me a black coffee. Drove to Riggs, and had an orientation day. OMG! What a place! The work they do is fantastic, but intense doesn't even begin to describe it! I've uploaded some more pics btw! I was taken to my office (next to the library) - I have my own office! There's free tea and coffee and snacks on-tap and lunc is free for staff! I can even eat breakfast and dinner with the patients for free! Will be giving that a go later this week! I was taken for a walk round the local golf-course by my supervisor - Dr David Mintz, who explained ... read more

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