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Shifting the Addiction Paradigm 2019

gabor Mate, md
Andrew Tatarsky, PhD
Ross Ellenhorn, PHD




MAY 31, 2018

9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Registration opens at 8:30 am

The New School,  63 Fifth Avenue, Tishman Auditorium (U 100), New York, NY  10011


8:30-9:30: Registration

9:30-10:00: Opening Remarks, Jenifer Talley, PhD. Assistant Director of The Center for Optimal Living, Assistant Professor and Assistant Director for Clinical Training, The New School.

10:00-10:30: Psychotherapuetic Values-- The "Unexplained Anomalies" in the Addiction Paradigm. Ross Ellenhorn, Ph.D. Founder/CEO of Ellenhorn, President of the Association for Community Integration Programs.

10:30-12:30: A Scientific Revolution in Addiction From Disease Model to Psychobiosocial Process: from Abstinence Only to Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy. Andrew Tatarsky, Founder and Director of The Center for Optimal Living.

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-3:30: The Hungry Ghost: A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Addiction, from Heroin to Workaholism. Gabor Maté, MD.  

3:30-3:45: Break

3:45-4:30: Q and A, Moderated by Zoi Andalcio, LMHC, CPT, Director of the Ellenhorn Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment program.

4:30-5:00: Closing Remarks Zoi Andalcio.


For some in the United States, the change in our view of substance use is a long time coming. It follows decades of conversations, insights, theories and science on the weakness of using a purely disease model, and it rests within a larger shift within the behavioral sciences, returning us to a more humanistic, interconnected and contextual approach.  For them, the current medical orientation often leads to poor outcomes in treatment, and a way of treating individuals that’s both coercive and primed to take economic advantage of the most vulnerable.  For others, however, there is no debate.  They see as unquestionable the fact that addiction is a disease. For them, doubting this fact is a form of blasphemy – dangerous and heretical.

But today, cracks are forming in the older model in the U.S. (a silo in a world that has largely abandoned a purely disease orientation). And that’s a good thing. There’s now a chance for greater creativity, choice in treatment and freedom in decisions about what to do in regards to substances in one’s life.  It can potentially mean a decrease in stigma, and a much more nuanced view of the use of drugs and alcohol.  The change allows for such words as “harm reduction,” “moderation,” and “social contingencies” to be used openly and freely, and it opens the door for insight regarding connections between oppression and social inequality and the use of substances.  Fracturing a cookie-cutter approach to addictive habits, it allows treatment—if a person wants it—to be truly individualized.  We are heading toward a paradigm shift.

Our annual conferences aim to hasten that shift by bringing together thought leaders, researchers and practitioners to present on new, innovative and liberating ways of approaching substance use and other habits, that are free from the yoke of the orthodoxy of disease.




Gabor Maté, MD.: The Hungry Ghost: A Biopsychosocial Perspective on Addiction, from Heroin to Workaholism.  A renowned speaker, and bestselling author, Dr. Maté is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics, from addiction to mind-body wellness. Rather than offering quick-fix solutions to these complex issues, Dr. Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them.

As an author, Dr. Maté has written several bestselling books including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. His works have been published internationally in twenty languages.

Dr. Maté is the co-founder of Compassion for Addiction, a new non-profit that focuses on addiction. He is also an advisor of Drugs over Dinner.


Dr. Tatarsky has devoted his career to developing a comprehensive understanding of the broad spectrum of substance use problems and the development of an integrative harm reduction psychotherapy approach to treating that spectrum.  This treatment is described in his book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems, as well as in professional papers and book chapters that extend the approach. An internationally recognized leader in the treatment of substance misuse and other potentially risky behaviors, he has specialized in the treatment of addiction for 35 years as a counselor, psychologist, program director, trainer, advocate and author. He trains professionals nationally and internationally.

Dr. Tatarsky is founder and executive director of the Center for Optimal Living in New York City where treatment and professional training is based on his model of Integrative Harm Reduction Therapy (IHRP). The center is one a growing number of treatment centers fully and radically committed to the harm reduction framework for helping people make positive change in their lives. The center is also committed to helping to change the dominant addiction/recovery toward one fully informed by harm reduction principles of compassion, collaboration, empowerment and personal choice.

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For the past three decades, Dr. Ellenhorn has been 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 outside institutional settings, and in their own communities. Trained as a sociologist, psychotherapist and social worker, Dr. Ellenhorn created the first fully-operating intensive hospital diversion and wrap-around program in Massachusetts. He later created and led one of the nation’s first Programs for Assertive Community Treatment teams in that state.  

He is the founder and owner of Ellenhorn, the most robust community integration program in the U.S. In addition, Dr. Ellenhorn is the co-founder and president of the Association for Community Integration Programs (A4CIP), a professional association representing and promoting programs dedicated to empowering clients who are receiving services while living and participating in their community.


Dr. Talley is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Director of The Center for Optimal Living, an outpatient psychotherapy practice in New York City.  She is also the Assistant Director of the Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling and Assistant Director of Clinical Training at The New School for Social Research.  Dr. Talley specializes in the treatment of substance misuse and co-occurring disorders from a harm reduction perspective.  She has expertise in working with trauma-related issues and previously worked at The Women’s Health Project at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.  She has been trained in Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention and integrates mindfulness practices into her work.  Dr. Talley's approach is interactive and focuses on the development of practical skills to manage intense emotions, reduce self-judgment, and promote self-compassion.

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Mr. Andalcio is the Director of Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment at Ellenhorn, a model for assisting individuals experiencing both addiction and burdensome psychiatric issues in the community.  A licensed mental health counselor with over 10 years of clinical experience, he has been trained in several evidence-based approaches to dual diagnosis treatment. Mr. Andalcio is a community-based therapist with a passion for working with clients in the community.  He has worked with many clients in diverse settings, from homeless shelters and correctional facilities to community clinics and hospitals. He is trained in psychological first aid, harm reduction methods, Open Dialogue, motivational interviewing, and Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT). As a personal fitness trainer, he incorporates personal training to assist clients in the recovery of their physical bodies, as well as helping them to open up emotionally and develop new avenues of mastery.

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