How Help Can Harm: Psychosocial Trauma and Adverse Adult Events of Being a Consumer of Behavioral Healthcare

About this Event

Mountainside Chelsea Continuing Education Breakfast Series

1 Free CE Credit

8:30AM – 9:00AM: Registration/Breakfast/Networking

9:00AM – 10:00AM: Presentation

10:00AM – 10:15AM: Q&A

Course Overview

Two phenomena continue to perplex and even frustrate behavioral health clinicians: the lack of motivation in their clients to change behavior, and the unwillingness of these clients to accept and metabolize treatment. In this talk, I show how these phenomena are actually linked more to the “social state” of such clients, than to “personality traits.”

To put it simply, they are the results of damaging social experience endured by people labeled as diseased in their habits or as ill in their brains. Ostracism, purposeless, loss of social support, isolation, and stigma, and other social injuries all lead to what I call Adverse Adult Experience, and treatment as usual–our approaches and our ways of organizing care–is not immune to inflicting these injuries. This fact is a hard thing to face for us clinicians, but nothing as difficult as what we ask our clients to face in their treatments with us.

Course Objectives

Participants have a full grasp of the concept of “psychosocial trauma” and be able to model their care in order to avoid the injuries associated with this trauma.

Participants will be able to integrate the science on ostracism, isolation, purposelessness and fear of hope into their practices.

Participants will leave the talk with a greater understanding of how their own institutions can change in order to avoid the damages of psychosocial trauma.

Participants will take a more critical eye to the dangers of disease and illness models, understanding the current confusion between disease metaphor and an actual disease event.

Participants will come away from the talk with a firm understanding of the brain as a social organ, and the importance of “social nutrients” for its functioning.

Presented by: Ross D. Ellenhorn, MSW, Ph.D.

Dr. Ellenhorn is trained as a sociologist, psychotherapist and social worker. He has spent the last two decades helping individuals suffering psychiatric symptoms find the psychological and social means for remaining outside institutional settings. He created the first fully-operating intensive hospital diversion and wrap-around program in Massachusetts, later creating and leading, one of the first Programs for Assertive Community Treatment teams in the Commonwealth. His book, which addresses psychiatric hospital recidivism and techniques for diverting hospital use, was published

by Springer Publishing in 2007. Dr. Ellenhorn has given talks and seminars throughout the country, and has provided consultation to numerous mental health agencies and psychiatric hospitals on the subjects of hospital diversion, psychosocial rehabilitation, patient careerism and the PACT model. Dr. Ellenhorn is trained in Open Dialogue, a method for helping individuals experiencing extreme psychiatric states, and which has documented success in minimizing the need for psychotropic medications. A graduate of the UCLA School of Social Welfare, Dr. Ellenhorn is the first person to receive a joint Ph.D. from the prestigious Florence Heller School for Social Welfare Policy and Management and the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University.

His new book, How We Change (and the Ten Reasons Why We Don’t) will be published by Harper Collins in May 2020.

Certificate Statement

Upon completion of the workshop, certificates will be emailed. Participants must sign-out and hand in course evaluation.

Partial credits will not be given. You must participate in the entirety of the workshop.

We take your feedback seriously. For grievances, questions or concerns, please contact Laila Caron, CE coordinator at


CONNECTICUT ADDICTION COUNSELORS: This course has been approved as a CCB approved training and has been awarded 1.0 hours by the Connecticut Certification Board. Check to ensure your certifying board will approve this credit.

SOCIAL WORK: Jumana Grassi LCSW NY# 0556 is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the New York State Education Department State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers.

ACE: Jumana Grassi, LCSW, #1721, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Jumana Grassi, LCSW maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 06/14/2019 – 06/14/2020. Social workers participating in this course will receive 1 continuing education credit.

ADA Accommodations: If you require ADA accommodations, please contact us at least 7 days in advance of the event so that we can ensure accommodations are made.

*There is no commercial support for this program, nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.

Support Groups

It is often said that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection. Having a strong support system is paramount to your sobriety and recovery journey. At Mountainside, we offer a wide range of in-person and virtual support groups for individuals in recovery and friends and families with loved ones in recovery. These groups are designed to help you stay connected to like-minded individuals regardless of where you are.

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