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.

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.

VIDEO: David Dionisio, LMHC Appears as a Guest with the Integrative Mental Health University

In early February 2019, Dave Dionisio, LMHC did an interview with Emma Bragdon of the Integrative Mental Health University. As a Spiritual Emergence Coach, Dave talked about his work at Ellenhorn helping clients with their spirituality, as well as generally what Ellenhorn does.

For questions about admissions, please contact Meghan Chella, LICSW through email at mchella@ellenhorn.com or by phone at 1-800-515-9972.

VIDEO: Laurie Damsky, PMHNP appears as guest on Recovery X

On July 23rd, 2018, Laurie Damsky, PMHNP, appeared as a guest on Recovery X with Dan Sevingy. Laurie and Dan talk about what Ellenhorn does, mainly surrounding addiction, and how it is unique, more effective, and better for the client as a whole than other treatment models. The use of the PACT model, IDDT, A4CIP, and why Ellenhorn does what it does are all topics that are explored in depth in this interview.

“[Addiction and mental health issues] are not separate, they are completely intwined with each other.”

To learn more about any of the topics covered in this interview please visit our website, www.ellenhorn.com. Here you will find more detailed information about all of the topics Laurie and Dan covered in their conversation together. For questions about admissions, please contact Laurie Damsky, PMHNP through email at ldamsky@ellenhorn.com or by phone at 617-491-2070.

Laurie Damsky, PMHNP-BC of Ellenhorn – Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT)❌ WANT TO HELP US SAVE LIVES? ❌We offer addiction sufferers and their families with free addiction recovery resources, like educational videos and one-on-one help finding treatment.You can help educate and save lives by donating to the show here:➡https://pages.donately.com/recoveryx/donate$1 or $1,000. One-time or Monthly.It all helps!Thank you for your support of the causeMentioned in this episode:Ellenhorn – https://www.ellenhorn.com/Laurie Damsky, PMHNP-BC – ldamsky@ellenhorn.comAssociation for Community Integrated Programs – http://a4cip.org/

Posted by Recovery X – Addiction Recovery Experts on Monday, July 23, 2018

VIDEO: Ross Ellenhorn on Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment and a Whole-Person Approach

Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment

On September 9th, Dr. Ellenhorn gave a talk at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders to a room filled beyond capacity. Titled, “‘Readiness’ is when the Client Says So: Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment and a Whole-Person Approach,” the talk addressed the best-practice model we use at Ellenhorn for individuals who are struggling with both addiction and psychiatric issues. It continues a series of lectures Dr. Ellenhorn is giving regarding his theories about the powerful link between human attachments, community integration and successful sobriety.

Mindfulness: A Simple and Approachable Guide To Getting Started

For many, starting a mindfulness practice can be daunting. Mindfulness asks you to be present, practice with regularity, dedicate time, and set a commitment to yourself. But it doesn’t have to be a practice of sitting for 30-45 minutes daily. Even so, this can still be daunting, but if you acknowledge that and still make room for other experiences, such as self-compassion, curiosity, and understanding, you may have a very different experience.

Where to begin? Some people choose yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques, body scans, tai chi; these are all wonderful practices and very accessible. Yoga is particularly wonderful because it is often practiced within a community. And nowadays, if you look online, you could also find a group practicing meditation, tai chi, and relaxation techniques together.

With our purpose of beginning a practice that is approachable and doable, let’s try this (yes, right now, please): Notice your inhale. Pause. Notice your exhale. Pause. When I say notice I don’t necessarily mean to slow and deepen your breath (however, if you feel like breathing slow and deep go for it!). I only mean to observe where your breath is in your body and how it feels as the breath enters and exits your body. What muscles are engaged? Is the breath shallow or deep? Can you follow the breath entering your nostrils and down your trachea? Can you feel your chest expanding and, if so, in which directions? Ok, let’s try this again: Notice your inhale. Pause. Notice your exhale. Pause. That, my friend, is you being present for a moment in time. This is a great starting point.

You can expand upon this by repeating these steps for longer periods of time. You may also experiment with closing your eyes or finding an object to gaze upon. Maybe you’ll prefer to have a dedicated space in your home that complements your practice. You may enjoy practicing with others or carving out a solitary moment in your day. It turns out that you do have to breathe, so you can practice these steps anywhere and no one will know you’re taking a mindful moment for yourself. There are also many apps (Headspace, The Mindfulness App or Mindfulness Daily) and videos online that will walk you through breathing exercises for varying amounts of time. And regarding time, it’s usually more effective to practice regularly for brief moments of time from 1 to 5 minutes each day as opposed to long sessions of 30-45 minutes, 1 or 2 times per week. That being said, this is your practice of presence, self-compassion, curiosity, and understanding– there is no right or wrong way to go about it.

Here at Prakash Ellenhorn, each client will meet with a clinician from our Integrative Medicine Program and complete a mind-body-wellness assessment. If a client expresses interest in developing or maintaining a practice, he or she will be connected with a mindbody clinician who will be on their treatment team to explore their practice together and possibly experiment with different practices. They’ll flesh out what contributes to a practice…and what may get in the way. Over time, the client will be practicing on his or her own and/or within the community. It is our belief at Prakash Ellenhorn that with support and community, people can achieve psychosocial recovery. Mind Body practices are an important part of our “whole person” philosophy in that we partner with each of our clients on their own individual journeys to a fuller, richer, and more meaningful life.

Below is a short and beautiful video from mindful.org. It’s never to late (or early!) to start being more mindful.