How We Change (and 10 Reasons Why We Don’t) Price: $23.00 (as of 25/01/2022 12:25 PST- Details)

A paradigm-shifting, instant classic in the making that challenges our assumptions about change by encouraging us to understand and embrace our resistance to it.

We all have something we want to change about ourselves. But whether it’s quitting smoking, losing weight, or breaking some common bad habit or negative behaviour pattern, we feel a sense of failure when we don’t succeed. This often sets off a cascade of negative feelings and discouragement, making it even harder to change. The voice in our head tells us: Why bother?

Successful change depends far more on understanding why we don’t change, psychotherapist and sociologist Ross Ellenhorn insists. His decades-long career as a pioneer in helping people overcome extreme psychiatric experiences and problematic substance use issues—especially those whom the behavioural healthcare system has failed—especially those whom the mental healthcare system has failed—has to lead him to develop an effective, long-term method to achieve transformation, from the simplest shifts to the most profound. In How We Change, Ellenhorn looks to the evolutionary imperatives driving us. We are wired to double down on the familiar because of what he calls the Fear of Hope—the act of protecting ourselves from further disappointment. He identifies the “10 Reasons Not to Change” to help us see why we behave the way we do, making it clear that there is nothing broken inside us—it’s how we’re built. By addressing this little known reality, he gives us hope and helps us work toward the change we seek.

“Ross Ellenhorn has given us an elegant, convincing, and deeply humanist approach to understanding our resistance to change—and in doing so, he helps us to overcome it. Engagingly written and scientifically rigorous, his book is an important contribution to the literature of mental wellness.” (David A. Kessler, MD, bestselling author of The End of Overeating; Capture; and Fast Carbs, Slow Carbs)

“Finally. Someone who understands that change—changing anything about ourselves—isn’t a mechanical process, and takes more than a YouTube video and willpower (whatever that is). Ross Ellenhorn explains why making even a simple personal change is so damn hard: it stirs a deep existential crisis and takes great courage—we have to take responsibility and face the terrible prospect of disappointing ourselves. The great big secret in this book is that the capacity to change grows not out of staring down our shortcomings but in showing kindness and compassion to our imperfect selves.” (Hara Estroff Marano, editor at large, Psychology Today, author of Nation of Wimps)

“This groundbreaking book invites you to consider the existential issues that affect all human beings, which cause us to resist change when we know it is good for us. Ross helps you to let go of the shame involved in not reaching your goals despite your best intentions, and leads you on an insightful journey to find how to create lasting, positive change from within rather than follow a mechanical prescription….Reading this book will supply you with the courage and wisdom you need to bravely confront your limitations and turn them into strengths for the journey ahead.” (Judy Ho, PhD, author of Stop Self-Sabotage, clinical and neuropsychologist, and cohost of The Doctors)

“Countless self help books claim to help people change. But Ross Ellenhorn’s How We Change actually does it, not through pithy slogans and relentless bullet points, but by encouraging readers to confront their own behaviors, patterns, setbacks, and fears. Erudite, funny, and highly accessible, How We Change is one of those books that stays with you for a long time. By the end of it, it’s safe to say you’ll be a different person.” (Abby Ellin, author of Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married)

About the Author


Ross Ellenhorn, PhD, is an eminent thought leader on innovative methods and programs aimed at helping individuals diagnosed with psychiatric and substance-use issues recover in their own communities, outside of hospital or residential settings. He is the founder, owner, and CEO of ellenhorn, the most robust community integration program in the United States, with offices in Boston, New York City, and Raleigh-Durham. Dr. Ellenhorn is also the cofounder and president of the Association for Community Integration Programs, and the founder of two lecture series that aim to shift current behavioral health paradigms. He gives talks and seminars throughout the country, and is an in-demand consultant to mental health agencies, psychiatric hospitals, and addiction programs in the United States and Europe. Dr. Ellenhorn is the first person to receive a joint PhD from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School for Social Welfare Policy and Management and the Brandeis Department of Sociology.


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