Ellenhorn New Perspectives Series: Cultivating curiosity and motivation: cornerstones of change behavior in tri-occuring recovery

On May 2, 2022, Ellenhorn hosted the second of five talks in our 2022 New Perspectives on treatment series. This presentation was done by Zoi Andalcio, LMHC, Ellenhorn’s Director of IDDT Services and Katherine Clemens, LICSW, Ellenhorn’s Clinical Director.

Curiosity is something that we are all born with and is foundational to our cognitive development. As we develop from infants to adolescents to adults, however, our curiosity, or our intrinsic desire to know and understand, is subverted by multiple forces. This presentation will address the macro- and micro-level ways in which stymied curiosity results in an environment lacking in motivation to change, as well as examine mental-health treatment for “tri-occurring” recovery. Speakers discuss their own work with clients who are seeking recovery from tri-occurring challenges, as well as the ways in which they cultivate curiosity as essential motivation toward change.

2022 Shifting the Addiction Paradigm Conference Recordings

On April 1, 2022, Ellenhorn and the Menninger Clinic partnered to put on Shifting the Addiction Paradigm – a hybrid virtual/in-person conference aiding the shift toward humanistic and client-centered values in behavioral care. This year we were fortunate enough to have four presentations from experts in the harm reduction/addiction treatment field. You can view the presentations below.

Special thank you to our speakers, Ross Ellenhorn, Andrew Tatarsky, Sam Rivera, and Julie Holland, for all their hard work and wonderful presentations!

Assumptions, Certainty and Fear: How non-Mentalizing can contribute to social injustices

We all make assumptions about race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation…which can harden into certainties…then fear.

How can Mentalization prevent or undo that process?
On July 15th, a webinar entitled “Assumptions, Certainty and Fear: How non-Mentalizing can contribute to social injustices” was presented jointly by Shelly Simpson, LICSW, Lead Clinician at Ellenhorn and Matt Estey, LCSW, Program Director of Menninger 360.
Mentalizing is the mental act of trying to understand your mind or the minds of others by thinking about and interpreting behavior with curiosity. To mentalize, we hold in mind the needs, desires, feelings, beliefs, goals, purposes of someone else and the reasons why they (or we) might be acting or responding a certain way.

When we feel fearful, anxious, certain or act based on assumptions, our ability to mentalize is compromised. We move into a non-mentalizing mode where there’s little room for perspective and curiosity. This non-mentalizing stance makes way for historical and current social injustices.
Today, we see non-Mentalization happening in abundance — the murder of George Floyd clarifying the horrors that occur when we are blind to the experience and humanity of others, and how oppression runs its course through dehumanization. Making assumptions first, without considering another’s experience, is a common event in all our lives, but it can become monstrous when combined with power and force. In many ways, the slogan and movement of Black Lives Matter is a call to hold in mind the particular struggle and often danger of being black. 

A non-Mentalizing stance is not only happening in the world at large — it’s happening in our offices. As mental health providers, we have blind spots and enter this work with our own assumptions and certainties. To address this in the workplace we must encourage curiosity and the practice of circling back to understand our missteps. We need to accept and not deny the reality of others when they express how our blind spots have impacted them. The rewards can be transformative: We enter into conversations in which we learn, change, and become better at understanding the minds and experiences of others.
Ellenhorn uses Mentalization in clinical work and on treatment teams. We offer Adaptive Mentalization-Based Integrative Treatment (AMBIT) to help clients who experience epistemic mistrust, disorders of self, or attachment-related issues. Ellenhorn also offers Mentalization-based family and individual therapy. In addition, Ellenhorn clinicians and leadership encourage using Mentalization in team meetings, supervision, and interactions among co-workers. In these situations, Mentalization brings to awareness and helps us correct missteps and microaggressions with a curious and open mind.

A4CIP President, Ross Ellenhorn Comments on 4th Annual Conference

“Over five years ago, Brad Kennedy and I founded The Association for Community Integration Programs (A4CIP) because we saw a critical lack of resources for programs that provide psychiatric and psychosocial care to clients living in the community that subscribe to the belief that purpose as well as vocational and educational goals are vital parts of their clients’ recovery.

Community Integration programs are an important alternative to sequestered residential living.  Clients of these programs receive coordinated psychiatric and psychosocial services while participating in the real world, building social ties, and moving purposefully towards the future.  These programs are the gold standard in this kind of care and I wanted to find a way to support the movement towards thinking about community integration more as the rule rather than the exception in regards to psychiatric treatment. A4CIP has developed considerably over the years, from around four programs our first year, to eighteen — and growing.

For our Fourth Annual Conference we once again partnered with the Menninger Clinic in Houston, who was our wonderful host.


My Road, My Journey, My Life: Enhancing Self-Determination in Treatment and Recovery

Self-determination is not only a civil right to which we should all be entitled; it is central to our psychological well-being. When clinicians ignore the importance of self-determination – intervening, rather than working collaboratively with clients  — they neglect an intrinsic element in recovery. To put it simply, people don’t get better if they don’t have access to the tools to determine their present and their future. ​

The conference speakers represented a wide breadth of expertise, from Dr. Maria O’Connell, of Yale University, who spoke about self determined healthcare tools, to Will Hall, a famous thinker and author on harm reduction approaches to psychiatric medication. From Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, another famous thinker and the developer of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, to the renowned social psychologist, Kennon Sheldon, who spoke about Self Determination Theory.

This was the best of our conferences so far. The audience was highly engaged and energized and the speakers were just simply excellent.”

Ross Ellenhorn, MSW, PhD

Announcing Ellenhorn’s First Annual New Perspectives on Treatment Series

Ellenhorn is pleased to announce a year-long series of talks investigating collaborative approaches to treatment, the science behind collaboration, the research on its effectiveness in therapy, and different means for building collaborative relationships with clients.


Decades of research on the common therapeutic factors leading to change repeatedly show that the most effective therapeutic relationships are collaborative ones. Too often, however, the notion of collaboration is approached by treaters as a starting point rather than as a destination. Many individuals who enter treatment, and especially those with complex issues, do so either because they suffer from a basic distrust of the world or out of compliance with the demands of others–scenarios that are poison to collaborative relationships. For these clients, the very idea that we start treatment with a partnership seems suspect, dangerous and bound to fail them. Try as we might to offer them the nutrients of a therapeutic alliance, they likely won’t metabolize what we offer.

Starting with the goal of a strong treatment alliance with our clients is easy; co-creating one with people who don’t trust us is hard work. When we call such individuals “treatment non-compliant,” “difficult to engage,” or “resistant,” we miss the point, seeing their reluctance to engage with us as purely a matter of their own flaws or issues, and not reflecting on our own misguided belief that our trustworthiness is a given.

Our series offers various breakfast and lunch-time presentations over the course of a year.  From a discussion of the science and research on collaborative relationships in therapy, to talks about Mentalization-Based Treatment, the Finnish model of Open Dialogue, expressive arts techniques and psychosocial approaches and therapies for substance misuse, we addresses the process of fostering therapeutic partnerships with individuals who are reluctant to enter into them.



Series Schedule


02/27: The Only Truth that Sticks: Distrust and the Complicated Path to Therapeutic Collaboration
Ross Ellenhorn, PHD
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Click here to register!

04/12: Recovery from Addictive Processes and Psychosocial Injuries through Therapeutic Collaboration
Zoi Andalcio, LMHC, CPT
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Click here to register!

06/12: Integrating Open Dialogue in PACT and Other Systems
Ross Ellenhorn, PhD
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Click here to register!

08/14: Mentalization for Teams: The Collaborative Nature of Curiosity
Carlene MacMillan, MD
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Click here to register!

10/16: Screen Signals: Healing through Social Media Influenced Projectives and Imagery
Anna Boyd, LCAT
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Click here to register!

12/12: The Social Psychological Ingredients for Collaboration: Self-Determination, Self Esteem, and Social Support
Ross Ellenhorn, PhD and Kent Harber, PhD
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Click here to register!



Can’t make it? Watch it online!

We will be broadcasting each talk online for those to watch who aren’t able to physically make it. However, please note that unfortunately we cannot offer CE credits for those who watch online.



Continuing Education


This event is co-sponsored by Ellenhorn, LLC and The Institute for Continuing Education. The program offers 2.00 contact hours with full attendance required. There is no additional charge to receive CE credit. Application forms and other required CE materials will be available on site. If you have questions regarding continuing education, the program, faculty, grievance issues, or for a listing of learning objectives, please contact The Institute at: 800-557-1950; e-mail: instconted@aol.com.

To receive continuing education credit, participants must complete all CE forms, sign in/out at designated locations, and submit an evaluation of the sessions attended.

CE Credit: It is the responsibility of attendees to check with their state licensing/certification board to determine if CE credit offered by The Institute for Continuing Education will meet the regulations of their board.

Psychology: The Institute for Continuing Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Counseling: The Institute for Continuing Education is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. Provider MHC-0016.
NOTE: NBCC credit is not offered.

Social Work: The Institute for Continuing Education, Provider 1007, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards ( ASWB ), www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education ( ACE ) program. The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 04-13-2015 – 04-13-2018. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits.

New York: The Institute for Continuing Education is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers. Provider No. 0025.

New Jersey: This program has NOT been submitted to the NJ Board of Social Work for pre-approval.

Marriage-Family Therapy: The Institute for Continuing Education is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. Provider MFT-0012.

Skill Level: This program is appropriate for mental health professionals of all skill levels.
Instructional Methodology: May include didactic, lecture, audio visuals, demonstrations.