Ellenhorn’s Shifting the Paradigm conferences aim to inform participants about current changes in thinking in the behavioral-health fields that reflect the emergence of new perspectives, ones we hope will result in more humane and effective care for people experiencing extreme mood or thought events, or who engage in dangerous habits. These conferences are intentionally humanistic, avoiding a mechanical or systematized approach to care.
Our virtual Shifting the Paradigm conference on February 26, 2021, explored the profound relationship between a person’s environment and extreme experiences of mood and thought.
Previous conferences focused on the following themes, among others, because they marked a noticeable shift in specific behavioral-health paradigms: the brain as a social organ; the mind as always socially engaged; and the space between self and other as an important site for study, theory and care.
Conference topics have been chosen deliberately to support a shift from a Cartesian view of the mind as bound within the skull, to one in which we see ourselves as continually and fluidly related to others and our environment; and in which dangers to our well-being are linked to times when our relatedness is threatened. We want to assist in a clear epistemological shift from an “I-think-therefore-I-am” perspective to one in which “I-am-because-I’m-related” is far more prevalent.
But related to what? So far, our conferences have focused exclusively on our relationship to other human beings, emphasizing that the health of individual humans is dependent on the fertility of the social/relational rhizomes in which they exist. While this is a very important tipping point in the current shift–promising better and more humane treatments–prioritizing human-to-human interaction as the central element of our psychological health potentially supports another false duality: the one between humans and nature.
Could it be that our psychological health is connected to the biosphere, the actual—not metaphorical–rhizome surrounding all of us? The fact that this question can seem “New Agey,” and “from the fringe” (“back to nature” being relegated in our minds to hippy communes and star-studded internet influencers), clarifies how powerfully an atomized approach still dominates the behavioral-health paradigm.
Ellenhorn’s February conference brought in experts from diverse areas of study to seriously address the question of the symbiosis of self and environment with scientific rigor and thoughtful theory that was down to earth in more ways than one. If you were unable to attend, recordings of each session, whether “The Role of Electrosmog in Mental Health,” “Neuroimmune Masqueraders of Psych” or “The Ketogenic Diet in Medicine and Psychiatry” (and more), are now available for purchase.