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Why Ellenhorn

Founded by a psychiatrist and a clinically trained sociologist, Ellenhorn blends the most robust psychiatric care of any private community-based program in the United States with the nation’s most intensive multidisciplinary treatment specifically aimed at helping clients remain integrated in the world.

We are as oriented to alleviating the suffering and potential dysfunction that psychiatric experiences can cause, as we are to preventing and treating the serious social damage often suffered by individuals diagnosed with and treated for psychiatric issues.

At Ellenhorn, we believe that staying connected to the world is central to an individual getting better. Standard treatment for psychiatric issues is often conducted in a vacuum, in which the person being treated is removed from his or her real life. That experience can damage a person’s confidence as they come to see themselves as defined by illness; it often derails them from pursuing their life goals, thus robbing them of a sense of purpose; and it can disrupt their connections with others. At Ellenhorn, we see abundant evidence that these social injuries are as devastating as a person’s psychiatric symptoms.

For this reason, as a core part of treatment at Ellenhorn, we actively support clients in pursuing their goals – helping them return to their most deeply desired educational or vocational track, regain their rightful role in the world, and recapture their belief in their own ability to realize their dreams. Ellenhorn both prevents potentially devastating social injuries from happening, and helps people heal from such damage.

Most Ellenhorn clients are treated while living independently in the community, with a small number staying in one of our residential programs. Ellenhorn’s staff-to-client ratio of one to two, and the fact that each of our psychiatrists holds a case-load deliberately kept very small, allows us to provide what is often called a “hospital without walls.” This approach lets us successfully treat people typically thought of as needing care within intensive outpatient, residential or even hospital treatment programs while these clients live and participate in the community, supported by all the nurturing ingredients of real life.

Ellenhorn’s time-tested and evidence-based treatment model, called the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), is endorsed by both the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as the prime model for both psychiatric and psychosocial recovery.

At Ellenhorn, our goals for each client are recovery from disruptive psychiatric experiences and social recovery, the two given equal importance. While many programs split these objectives – viewing treatment of psychiatric symptoms as separate from a person’s attainment of their rightful role in the world (and often making symptom reduction come first, as a necessary precondition for a client’s involvement in real life) – we see the full achievement of each goal as dependent on the realization of the other. Social recovery is most likely to occur when a client receives thoughtful and coordinated pharmacological care (medication) that takes into account how psychiatric symptoms as well as medication side effects can impede leading a satisfying, productive life in the community. At the same time, the best pharmacological care occurs when a doctor is part of a team of treaters (clinicians, therapists and others) dedicated to supporting a client’s engagement with the world. When psychiatrists are members of such a close-knit team, they are able to make better, more finely-tuned treatment decisions that lead to precisely targeted care, the avoidance of overmedication or improper medication, and treatment that can safely help some clients become medication-free.

We believe that the mutually dependent goals of recovery from disruptive psychiatric experiences and social recovery are impossible to achieve without a strong collaborative relationship with our clients. That’s why our clients are leaders in their own care. We place their goals for the future front and center in our treatment.

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