Public Engagement

General Public

Shifting the Paradigm of Addiction: A Sea Change . . . A Change in Seeing

Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center , 100 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, New York, NY 10003

The change in our view of substance use is a long time coming. For many, the current medical orientation often leads to poor outcomes. For others, however, there is no debate. They see addiction as a disease and for them, doubting this fact is a form of blasphemy – dangerous and heretical. 

We are heading toward a paradigm shift. 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; opening the door for insight regarding connections between oppression, social inequality and the use of substances.

Organized by Ellenhorn and the Center for Optimal Living, and hosted by The New School for Social Research's Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling, this annual conference aims to hasten that shift by bringing together thought leaders, researchers and practitioners to present on new, innovative and liberating ways of approaching substance use. This year, our conference features prominent thinkers including: Gabor Maté, MD and Andrew Tatarsky, PhD with opening remarks from Ross Ellenhorn, PhD.

Gabor Maté, MD:

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.

Andrew Tatarsky, PhD:

Dr. Tatarsky has devoted his career to developing a comprehensive understanding of the 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. An internationally recognized leader in the treatment of substance misuse and other risky behaviors, he has specialized in the treatment of addiction as a counselor, psychologist, trainer, advocate and author.

Ross Ellenhorn, PhD:

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.


8:45 - 9:30: Registration

9:30 - 10:00: Opening Remarks

10:00 - 10:30: Ross Ellenhorn, PhD, Psychotherapuetic Values--The “Unexplained Anomalies” in the Addiction Paradigm

10:30 - 12:30: Andrew Tatarsky, PhD, A Scientific Revolution in Addiction From Disease Model to Psychobiosocial Process: from Abstinence Only to Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy

12:30 - 1:30: Lunch

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

3:30 - 3:45: Break

3:45 - 4:30 Q & A

4:30 - 5:00 Closing Remarks

The New School for Social Research’s Department of Psychology SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0199. This training provides 18 hours of continuing education. This training has also been approved to provide 18 hours of continuing education credits for CASACs by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

Event Type

Conferences and Symposia


General Public


Intellectual Culture and Big Ideas, Creativity and Innovation


The New School for Social Research, Department of Psychology


Psychology, Professional Development


Fees vary (ranging from $150 - $210). Please visit the EventBrite page for details.

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