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Shifting the Addiction Paradigm:
The psychedelic Renaissance


June 14, 2023

9:00 am - 5:00 pm PST

In Person

The Skirball Cultural Center

Los Angeles, California

Virtual Registration Available

Attendance link will be emailed to all virtual attendees on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.

Registration Fees

In Person: $150

Virtual: $75 

Refund Policy: With two weeks minimum advance written notice, Ellenhorn will provide a full refund (minus credit card proccessing fees). In the unlikely event the symposium must be canceled, prepaid registrants will be given a registration fee refund.


Click the logos to learn more about each sponsor!

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A lot has happened since our first “Shifting the Addiction Paradigm” conference more than six years ago. The topic that first year was “Attachment and Addiction,” and looking back it’s now hard to believe that our suggestion that dangerous habitual behaviors be viewed through a psychotherapeutic lens of attachment was rather novel at the time, and that the subsequent connection between trauma and addiction that we discussed was far from mainstream. As time went on, however, we moved further away from a strictly “hijacked brain”/disease approach to addiction, the concept of “harm reduction” became part of popular nomenclature and harm-reductionists such as us were no longer shunned from mainstream conferences as heretics. In fact, in a lot of ways, the giant shift we predicted at our first conference is currently cresting—and some of the results are truly revolutionary.


What’s the next wave we armchair futurists see headed for the field of problematic habits? Psychedelics, on the tongues of just about anyone willing to look beyond the ideology of disease, are the obvious answer, and the shift to these compounds is largely a welcome one for those of us who hold a humanist ethos. In the right hands, psychedelics are fine assistants for addressing attachment, self-compassion and larger existential concerns in our practices, not to mention good tools for those of us who see painful habits where our professional ancestors and colleagues saw disease. In the wrong hands? Well, they are just more B.S.

Like harm-reduction orientation, the use of psychedelics for recovery is an age-old underground approach that’s been knocking for decades at the door of a paradigm that is now shifting. This conference will feature experienced practitioners, including many who will be coming from belowground to above; those who rely on traditional practices, as well as those who employ more modern ones (including twelve-step approaches); and psychiatrists experienced in the psychedelic space who will each discuss the ways in which these medicines might assist us.


In this, we aim to lend our humble hand to the next possible shift from the tired, repetitive, ruminative notion that addiction is explainable as a distinct disease of the brain and infuse our field with the kind of plasticity, curiosity and search for novelty that the current psychedelic renaissance promises.



8:00am - 9:00am: Registration and Welcome Breakfast

9:00am - 9:15am: Opening Remarks

Zoi Andalcio, LMHC

Director of Addiction Services at Ellenhorn.

9:15am - 10:15am: The Relationship Between Investment Money and Behavioral Health: Psychedelics as Commodified Medicine.

Ross Ellenhorn, PhD, LCSW 

Ellenhorn, Founder and CEO.

10:20am - 11:20am: Addressing Addictive Patterns with Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy: Looking Deeper 

Eva Altobelli, MD

HOME-LA, Founder and CEO


11:30am - 12:45pm: Lunch

12:45pm - 1:45pm: Sober Living 2.0:  The Recovery House in a New Light

Todd Youngs

 Addiction and Integration Specialist

2:00pm - 3:00pm: Psychedelics and a Capitalist Medical-Care System: How Can This Work?. 

Yarelix Estrada, MSPH

Director of the New York City Psychedelic Society

3:00pm: Break

3:10pm - 4:15pm: Discussion Panel and Closing Remarks


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Eva Bio


Eva Altobelli, MD started her career working as a filmmaker in New York City while exploring mindfulness, yoga, neuroscience and expanded states of consciousness. Returning to school, Dr. Altobelli completed a psychiatric residency and fellowship in addiction. Eva is a Diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Her career evolved working in detox, rehab and private practice as well as consulting in psychedelics, addiction and recovery, teaching and mentoring. She is certified in Psychedelic Therapy and Research from California Institute of Integral Studies and by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) to treat PTSD with MDMA. She has extensive post graduate trainings ranging from reiki to psychoanalysis. During her career Dr. Altobelli has evolved a holistic practice integrating mind, body and spirit into the healing process. She specializes in creative ways to help clients find their way to recovery and wholeness.

Ross Bio
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Ross Ellenhorn, PhD, LCSW is trained as a sociologist, psychotherapist, and social worker. His diverse resume of projects are all driven by a keen focus on the intersection between our personal experiences and more public and social issues, and an orientation toward this intersection as the fruitful site for individual transformation.  He is a pioneer and leader in the development and promotion of community integration services, types of care that serve and empower individuals diagnosed with psychiatric and/or addiction issues while they remain in their own communities and outside institutional settings. Believing that one’s sense of social worth and connection are prime medicine for psychiatric and addiction recovery, he developed the first fully operating intensive community integration programs in Massachusetts. 

In 2002, he created Ellenhorn, the first private Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) in the United States. Ellenhorn is the  most robust Community Integration program in the country, serving

clients in Boston, New York and Los Angeles.  In 2022, Ross co-founded CARDEA, a psychedelics based practice that assists those who seek recovery from deep and entrenched psychological anguish, and from behaviors that are out of control, as well as those who want a more awakened life and expanded sense of existence. With offices in New York City, and retreats in Jamaica, Cardea offers a unique approach to psychedelic care, focused on Dr. Ellenhorn’s idea of “sacred originality”--the idea that experiencing novel moments of selfhood leads to deeper, more compassionate social experiences. 

Dr. Ellenhorn has authored two books on human behavior. Parasuicidality and Paradox: Breaking Through the Medical Model addresses psychiatric hospital recidivism and techniques for diverting hospital use. It was published by Springer Publishing in 2007. His most recent book, How We Change (and the Ten Reasons Why We Don’t), takes a deep dive into the dynamics that influence all human change. Published by Harper Collins, and in seven different languages, How We Change was released in May of 2020. He has authored numerous articles, gives talks and seminars throughout the country, and provides consultation to mental health agencies, psychiatric hospitals and addiction programs.

Dr. Ellenhorn is the first person to receive a joint Ph.D. from Brandeis University’s prestigious Florence Heller School for Social Welfare Policy and Management and the Department of Sociology.

Yarelix Bio

Yarelix Estrada, MHPC

Yarelix Estrada, MSPH, is a first-generation Central American, harm reduction researcher, advocate, community outreach worker and drug checking technician. Yarelix works as a City Research Scientist with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducting drug checking through the founding and implementation of the first multi-site higher-technology drug checking research project in New York City with local syringe service programs and an overdose prevention center. Yarelix is passionate about supporting people throughout the full continuum of drug use, from use for pleasure and healing to overdose prevention. She is dedicated to improving the quality of care for people who use drugs and historically oppressed communities by working to understand the intersectionality between health policy and the societal factors that impact the lives of people who use drugs. She is the director of the New York City Psychedelic Society, is on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Recovery Alliance, the Board of Directors for the Source Research Foundation, on the Advisory Board of the psychedelic media group Psymposia and is an organizer with the Urban Survivors Union and the Alliance for Collaborative Drug Checking. She received her Master of Science in Public Health in Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Todd Youngs

Todd Youngs has been in full recovery from addiction since 2009. He works intensively with others to help them achieve a life of satisfying and meaningful sobriety. His approach draws from a diversity of modalities including 12 Steps, CBT, MI, and Mindfulness to deeply address the bio/psycho/social/spiritual aspects of addiction. Todd has worked extensively with Ayahuasca for over 12 years within a variety of settings. 

Todd Bio


Yarelix Talk

The Relationship Between Investment Money and Behavioral Health: Psychedelics as Commodified Medicine

Ross Ellenhorn, PhD, LCSW

There is a psychedelic renaissance underway for sure, a reintroduction and remaking of its use for the larger public. And yet, as practices once conducted underground emerge into the daylight of doctor’s offices and vacation retreats worldwide, this new movement is rapidly becoming pretty un-psychedelic—no longer aimed toward novel experiences and the pursuit of novelty, but toward the uniformity and standardization of getting people back to an elusive place of “normalcy.” 

Psychedelics are being subsumed into the current medical and economic structure, and rapidly molded into another medicine for conformity; less about expansiveness, curiosity and play, and more about fixing your brokenness. That, at least, is the doomsday scenario. There are, however, vital pockets of resistance—places where the spirit of the underground is still alive and thriving more than ever. 

This talk will describe the results of the decades-long relationship between investment money and behavioral health, how the current introduction of psychedelics as commodified medicine is the obvious result of their entrée into this system, and how to understand the relationship between these compounds and the orientation to “normalization” in both psychedelic research and practices. It will elaborate upon how the missing element in the current predominant narrative about the psychedelic—the modern gift of play, novelty and improvisation—points toward resistance., as well as how these central elements to modern humanity are both suppressed in the current selling of miracle cures.

Learning Objectives:

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand of the history of investment money and the behavioral-health system and how this marriage influences current narratives and the branding of psychedelics.

  2. Gain insight into the way in which the branding of psychedelics contributes to the growing tendency to “medicalize” human behavior and results in the “problem saturation” of our everyday lives.

  3. Understand how the current psychedelic movement’s most suppressed elements—the playful, novelty-seeking forms that flowed through hippy and rave cultures as well as early psychedelic psychotherapies—are key to a true renaissance.

Addressing Addictive Patterns with Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy: Looking Deeper

Eva Altobelli, MD

Addiction is not the core problem; it is an invitation to look deeper. The abstinence-only model keeps us bound to a model in which relapse and shame become barriers to getting help. Psychedelics, on the other hand, invite a broader scope of contemplation about the driving forces behind our behavior and allow us to see ourselves with a greater sense of compassion and curiosity. Indeed, contemplative use of psychedelics not only allows us to change the way we view addiction and recovery, it helps us come up with language that better suits the process.

Learning Objectives:

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify three experiences that can lead to addictive patterns.

  2. Understand the three paradigms of psychedelic therapy.

  3. Further their knowledge of three medications used with psychedelic therapy.

Sober Living 2.0:  The Recovery House in a New Light

Todd Youngs

The human experience often prefers evolution to revolution. After all, it is in our best interest to build upon the insights of the past rather than discard them. Indeed, there is deep wisdom to be found in the philosophy of traditional 12-step recovery homes and related fellowship that offers a valuable framework as we create new, psychedelically supportive iterations of such environments. We need not reinvent the wheel—but we can enthusiastically improve its ride, efficiency and durability.

Learning Objectives:

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the philosophy behind 12-step programs.

  2. Understand how 12-step recovery homes and related fellowship can offer valuable frameworks for new recovery environments.

  3. Gain insight into how psychedelics and recovery can be used in conjunction with one another.


Psychedelics and a Capitalist Medical-Care System: How Can This Work?

Yarelix Estrada, MSPH

We’re living in an ironic time in the United States. Psychedelics are being touted as a tool for treating a variety of mental-health conditions and, in some instances, heralded by advocates as the very medicine that will heal society, yet, at the same time, our nation hit a grim benchmark in the number of deaths due to drug overdose during the 12-month period ending in April 2021—an estimated 100,306! Not to mention the fact that while the majority of people who use drugs do not experience problematic drug use, those who are dependent on drugs often have underlying untreated mental-health conditions and basic un-met needs, including lack of access to food, housing and health-care services. 

This presentation will use the U.S. drug-treatment system as an example of how a capitalist medical-care system perpetuates harm without addressing the foundational needs of the very communities it is poised to treat–the same medical-care system into which the psychedelic industry is looking to integrate. In the process, we will also question the actual intention of this psychedelic industry and ponder what healing can look like without fundamental human needs being met. 

Learning Objectives:

Following the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Use the practice of harm reduction as a framework in understanding structural inequities in the United States. 

  2. Understand the difficulties faced by people who use drugs and also deal with intersecting oppressive identities such as homelessness, lack of documentation and poverty.

  3. Gain insight into how the psychedelic space is integrating into the same inequitable system under capitalism. 

  4. Determine potential alternative directions for the psychedelic space.

Ross Talk
Eva Talk
Todd Talk


CEU Info

Five (5.0) contact/credit/clock hours have been designated by Ellenhorn and CE Go for the following disciplines: 

  • Psychologists

  • Social Workers

  • Licensed Professional Counselors

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists

***Those not listed above will receive a certificate of attendance

Successful completion of this activity requires 100% attendance of the activity. No partial credits will be awarded. For more information on Continuing Education Credits as it relates to this conference, please see the full brochure.

Location Info


Conference Location

Skirball Cultural Center

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90049

(310) 440-4500

Hotel Information

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

(323) 856-1970 (reservation line)


Rate $229 per night, plus tax. Special rate applies for the nights of June 13 and June 14, with checkout on June 15. Cut off date for special rates is May 23, 2023. If making reservations via the reservation line, please reference "Ellenhorn Conference" for special rates. Group Code: 061323Ellen

Special Needs/ADA

If you have any specific ADA needs please request support in advance when registering online or by contacting Gabe Dunn at


For assistance with registration, payment, or additional continuing education information, please contact Gabe Dunn at


The health and safety of all conference participants is our top priority. We are following all safety guidelines put in place by the Skirball Cultural Center. 

Masks are not required, but are encouraged, during the actual conference. Attendees may use their own discretion while in our private conference space. When not in the conference space, all visitors ages 2 and up must wear a non-cloth mask at all times (except while eating or drinking), indoors and outdoors, regardless of vaccination status or negative test result. Please wear one of the following: 

  • N95 

  • KN95 

  • KF94 

  • Surgical 

No cloth masks, neck gaiters, open chin triangle bandanas, or face coverings with valves, mesh, or holes. 

For more information on the current COVID Safety Guidelines at the Skirball Center, please click here

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