(Pictured: Kennon Shelton, Speaker; Ed Levin, A4CIP CEO; Ross Ellenhorn, A4CIP President and conference curator; Andrew Tartarsky, Speaker; Brad Kennedy, A4CIP Vice President; Maria O’Connell, Speaker; and Will Hall, Speaker)
Over five years ago, Brad Kennedy and I founded The Association for Community Integration Programs (A4CIP) because we saw a critical lack of resources for programs that provide psychiatric and psychosocial care to clients living in the community that subscribe to the belief that purpose as well as vocational and educational goals are vital parts of their clients’ recovery.
Community Integration programs are an important alternative to sequestered residential living. Clients of these programs receive coordinated psychiatric and psychosocial services while participating in the real world, building social ties, and moving purposefully towards the future. Theseprograms are the gold standard in this kind of care and I wanted to find a way to support the movement towards thinking about community integration more as the rule rather than the exception in regards to psychiatric treatment. A4CIP has developed considerably over the years, from around four programs our first year, to eighteen — and growing.
For our Fourth Annual Conference we once again partnered with the Menninger Clinic in Houston, who was our wonderful host.
Each year we pick a theme and then curate speakers to address it. This year,we picked self-determination as the theme:
My Road, My Journey, My Life:
Enhancing Self-Determination in Treatment and Recovery,
Self-determination is not only a civil right to which we should all be entitled; it is central to our psychological well-being. When clinicians ignore the importance of self-determination – intervening, rather than working collaboratively with clients — they neglect an intrinsic element in recovery. To put it simply, people don’t get better if they don’t have access to the tools to determine their present and their future.
The conference speakers represented a wide breadth of expertise, from Dr. Maria O’Connell, of Yale University, who spoke about self determined healthcare tools, to Will Hall, a famous thinker and author on harm reduction approaches to psychiatric medication. From Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, another famous thinker and the developer of Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, to the renowned social psychologist, Kennon Sheldon, who spoke about Self Determination Theory.
This was the best of our conferences so far. The audience was highly engaged and energized and the speakers were just simply excellent.