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"The Crowning Fortune of Purpose"

Community Integration Conference 
June 23 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (PST)

In Person
The Skirball Cultural Center
Los Angeles, California 

Virtual Registration Available
Attendance link will be emailed to all virtual attendees on Wednesday June 22, 2022

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Please register in advance to help us plan an optimal experience for you. We accept, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Registration will be finalized upon receipt of payment.

In-Person: $75 (With or without workshop)

Virtual: $75 


The registration fee includes continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments for in-person attendees

The Menninger Clinic will provide a full refund upon written request if requested at least two weeks before the date of the live event.

In the unlikely event, the conference is canceled, prepaid registrants will be issued a full refund. The Menninger Clinic does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or age in admission to its programs, activities or employment.



Click the logos to learn more about our fabulous sponsors!

If you are interested in sponsoring this conference, please contact David Werbeck ( or Larry Mendoza ( for information on our sponsorship packages. 

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7:30 AM - Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM - Welcome & Opening Remarks 

Shelly Simpson, LICSW

Clinical Director for Ellenhorn Team LA

8:45 AM - "Emerging from the Shadows of Mental Illness: The Transformative Power of Finding Meaning and Purpose"

Dorothy Hutchinson, ScD

Executive Director of the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University

9:45 AM - "The Power of Purpose: Peer Perspectives on Meaning Making"

Nicole Mensinger & Megan Weichnik, CPS

Ellenhorn Peer Recovery Specialists

10:45 AM - Morning Break

11:00 AM - "Finding Our Way: Using Values to Find Purpose, Identity, and a Life Worth Living"

Mychal Riley, LCSW-S, LCDC-I

 Program Director of Menninger 360 at The Menninger Clinic

12:00 PM - Lunch

1:00 PM - "Purpose: The Driving Force in Motivation, Efficiency and Efficaciousness, Metabolizing Help and Building a Relationship with One's Own Suffering"

Ross Ellenhorn, LICSW, PhD

Ellenhorn Founder & CEO

2:15 PM - Afternoon Break

2:30 PM - "Compassionate Professional Renewal (CPR), Connecting to Purpose"

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD

Founder & Director for The Jung Center's Mind Body Spirit Institute 

3:30 PM - Moderated Interactive Panel

4:00 PM - Closing Remarks



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Emerging from the Shadows of Mental Illness: The Transformative Power of Finding Meaning and Purpose

Dorothy Hutchinson, ScD

Purpose and meaning and the hope that comes with mattering in the world, is a critical component of thriving in recovery. People with mental illnesses have had their hope and sense of meaning oppressed and silenced not only through social injustices, but often by the very people, programs, and systems they seek help and support from. This presentation will offer an opportunity to explore how we might be complicit and complacent in the constant of purposelessness that people experience and offer

principled provider changes and practical actions that build a sense of meaning and activate a search for meaning.

Dr. Dori Hutchinson is the Executive Director at the Center for

Psychiatric Rehabilitation in Boston, MA. She has worked for 4 decades to develop innovative community recovery education and college mental health programs to help individuals thrive with strategies and skills that promote valued roles, healing, and resiliency.

The Power of Purpose: Peer Perspectives on Meaning Making

Nicole Mensinger & Megan Weichnik, CPS

Purpose is a centering force that both depends on and

fosters mental wellness. In this presentation, speakers will use examples from their own recovery to illuminate areas affected by having or losing purpose in life, including identity, confidence and self-efficacy. Both individual and community purpose will be discussed, and community- integration strategies that have helped along the way will be highlighted. 


Nicole Mensinger is a Peer Specialist for Ellenhorn Los Angeles whose own journey has instilled in her an incredible passion for mental health, wellness, addiction and healing. Nicole’s motto, learned from a beloved mentor, is that “you can’t be curious and critical at the same time — so stay curious!” She thus enjoys sharing her experiences, tools, humor, curiosity and hope with her clients in order to help them see themselves in a new way and, ultimately, alchemize their “challenges” into “superpowers.”

Meg Wiechnik is a certified peer specialist (CPS), which means she lives with a mental health condition and uses her experience to support and connect with her peers at Ellenhorn. Meg lives well with bipolar disorder thanks to personal education, support communities, helpful providers, the love of her family, and the passage of time. Meg believes in the power of mutual support and using our


voices to advocate for what we want in treatment and in life. Meg also works as a peer specialist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital and is an active volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Before her work with Ellenhorn, Meg started an information and resource helpline at NAMI Massachusetts called COMPASS and taught English as a Second Language (ESL). Meg earned both a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Northeastern University in 2012 and trained to become a peer specialist in 2018.

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Finding Our Way: Using Values to Find Purpose, Identity, and a Life Worth Living

Mychal Riley, LCSW-S, LCDC-I

Finding purpose can feel like a daunting task but is also one of the most exhilarating and motivating tools. Our values can help guide us to a sense of purpose; however, there can be many barriers to find and staying in line with our values. In this presentation, the speaker will explore how values can help guide life and treatment. Ways to shift provider and client perspective to values and strengths-based will be provided, and tools for identifying and clarifying values will be provided as well. Managing barriers to values-based treatment and the relationship of values, pain, and acceptance will be examined as well.

Mychal Riley, LCSW-S has been with the Menninger Clinic for 10 years where he has worked with adolescents, young adults, and adults. Mychal has worked inpatient and outpatient, with the last five years focused on Community integration. Mychal’s clinical interests include recovery, strengths-based interventions, mentalization and third wave cognitive behavioral therapies.

Purpose: The Driving Force in Motivation, Efficiency and Efficaciousness, Metabolizing Help and Building a Relationship with One’s Own Suffering

Ross Ellenhorn, LICSW, PhD

This talk will place our clients’ sense of purpose front and center in our work as clinicians and leaders in the field of psychological recovery. Social science research supports prioritizing purpose as a psychological factor instrumental

in psychic well-being.

It will discuss a critical view of much of the current behavioral-health treatment, the majority of which deprives the most psychologically vulnerable of its 

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constituents of the chance for a purposive life. It will also highlight where things go right in the current milieu, with a focus on care that is oriented toward the building of purpose and will describe a future in which more care is purpose driven.

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. A graduate of the UCLA School of Social Welfare, Dr. Ellenhorn is the first person to receive a joint Ph.D. from the prestigious FlorenceHeller School for Social Welfare Policy and Management and the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University.


Compassion Professional Renewal (CPR), Connecting to Purpose

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD

MBSI’s Compassionate Professional Renewal (CPR) classes and workshops take the notion of employee self-care from a vague concept to an obtainable reality — guiding employees and management teams through academically informed instruction and experiences. Meditation, lecture, peer discussion and movement techniques are utilized to identify the effects of stress in the workplace and the means to reduce them. Through these mind body practices, we can connect deeper to our purpose, and meet those we serve with a sense of spaciousness and openness.

Alejandro Chaoul, PhD, is the founder-director of The Jung Center’s Mind Body Spirit Institute, through which he offers workshops on stress, vicarious trauma

and self-care for educators, corporate organizations, and healthcare providers. Dr. Chaoul also teaches Tibetan meditation and integrative medicine classes at MD Anderson, UT Health and internationally.


Five and one-half (5.5) contact/credit/clock hours have been designated by the Menninger Clinic for the following disciplines: 

  • Physicians

  • Psychologists

  • Social Workers

  • Licensed Professional Counselors

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists

  • Addiction Professionals

***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.


Conference Location

Skirball Cultural Center

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90049

(310) 440-4500

Hotel Information

Hotel Angeleno

170 N. Church Lane Los Angeles, CA 90049

(866) 264-3536 (reservation line)


A limited number of rooms are available at Hotel Angeleno at the conference rate of $185 (standard king) when you reserve by May 23, 2022. To make a reservation, please click the link above.


Special Needs/ADA

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


For assistance with registration, payment, or additional continuing education information, please contact Michelle Jennings 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. The Skirball’s visitor policy is in accordance with the City of Los Angeles vaccination ordinance. All Skirball visitors ages 12 and up are required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. A valid photo ID is also required for visitors ages 18 and up. All visitors must complete a safety screening in order to check in.

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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